Dricus Du Plessis is still open to the idea of fighting Israel Adesanya in the future. The South African fighter is confident about defeating the former champ in case their bout is given a second chance. According to Du Plessis, aside from being able to “manhandle” Adesanya, he’s sure the New Zealander wouldn’t be able to knock him out.
The two were supposed to enter the cage at UFC 293 last September. However, “Stillknocks” was forced not to take a fight due to his foot injury, giving Sean Strickland the title shot. Needless to say, the American successfully beat “The Last Stylebender,” making him the current champ in the middleweight division.
For Du Plessis, nonetheless, the fight between him and Adesanya is still not over.
Despite Adesanya no longer being the champ, Du Plessis still wants to face him, noting how much the former champ achieved in the division. With this, Du Plessis wants to include Adesanya on his target list once he has the belt and needs a fight to defend it.
“I would still love to fight Israel Adesanya – 100 percent,” Du Plessis told Submission Radio. “It would be my first choice as a defense, to fight Israel. It’ll be great. But I’m assuming Khamzat’s the guy they’re going to try and push, so that’ll be cool. I do want to defend my belt. I do want to defend the belt before (moving up). Obviously, it’s all going to come down to who I beat and how good I make it look. If I go out there and I absolutely destroy Khamzat, what’s there really left? If I go out there and I beat Israel Adesanya after becoming champion, he’s wiped out the whole division.
“The two guys who wiped out the division was Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. And beating those two guys doesn’t really leave any room left.”
In terms of his chances of beating the former champ, the No. 2-ranked fighter expressed confidence in handling such a fight. As Du Plessis noted, despite Adesanya’s good striking and takedown defense skills, he’s certain the New Zealand fighter could knock him out.
“The Izzy fight is a fight where I honestly believe that I would’ve grabbed him and I would’ve manhandled him, to be honest,” Du Plessis said. “I know he has good takedown defense, but I don’t think people understand the difference between myself and Israel Adesanya.
“If I would’ve grabbed him, it would’ve been a very long night. Well, no, it wouldn’t have been a long night. Obviously, his striking is good. There’s no way Israel Adesanya knocks me out.”
Unfortunately for Du Plessis, a fight against Adensaya seems impossible right now. To recall, the former champ is currently on an extensive break in order to recover from the injury he sustained in his last fight against Strickland. With this, even if Du Plessis wins, he still would have to wait a bit longer for Adesanya and get in line next to Alex Pereira, who has been consistently urging The Last Stylebender for a rematch.