Israel Adesanya claims to have ‘paved the way’ for Dricus Du Plessis: ‘He’s the fourth African champion’

Israel Adesanya 'paved the way' for Dricus Du Plessis: 'He's the fourth African champion'

Israel Adesanya believes he, and other African champions like Kamaru Usman and Francis Ngannou, paved the way for Dricus Du Plessis.

It’s no secret that ‘The Last Stylebender’ is not overly fond of the new middleweight world champion, particularly after Du Plessis proclaimed that he would become the UFC’s first true African champion. Adesanya, who was born in Nigeria before relocating to New Zealand at the age of 10, took exception to the comment and engaged in a racially charged face-off with ‘Stillknocks’ at UFC 290.

Israel Adesanya and DDP

The two were expected to square off in late 2023/early 2024, but Sean Strickland threw a massive kink in those plans with a decisive decision victory over Adesanya to claim the 185-pound crown.

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Four months later, ‘Tarzan’ relinquished the belt to Du Plessis, once again setting the stage for an epic showdown between the two African stars, though with their roles reversed.

DDP as champion

Speaking about his tense feud with Du Plessis, Adesanya insisted that it was he, alongside a few other African superstars, who walked inside the Octagon so DDP could run.

“I paved the way for him,” Adesanya said on The MMA Hour. “Without me, one of the great African champions, he wouldn’t be here. He’s the fourth African champion in this game. Kudos to him, but we paved the way for him.”

Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya, and Kamaru Usman

Israel Adesanya insists the people of south Africa are his people

No official date has been booked for Adesanya and Du Plessis’ inevitable clash, but ‘Stillknocks’ has been pushing hard for the fight to go down in his native South Africa.

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Asked about potentially fighting DDP on his home turf, the ‘Stylebender’ made it clear that the South African people are his people.

“Of course, they’re my people,” Adesanya said when asked if he would fight in South Africa. “I don’t care about cheers. They’re my people. I’m more in touch with the culture in South Africa than he is. I can guarantee you that. The people tell me, the people know. When I go there, the body language, the dancers, the vibe. When I’m there, they’ll know and they tell me, I’m their people.”

Check out Israel Adesanya’s full appearance on The MMA Hour below:

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