Morning Report: Dricus Du Plessis fires back at Israel Adesanya’s UFC 300 claims, says ‘You don’t dictate when I fight’

Dricus Du Plessis will fight when he’s ready.

All the drama surrounding UFC 300’s main event was settled on the night of UFC 298 in Anaheim, Calif. last month. The light heavyweight title will be on the line when the recently crowned champion Alex Pereira defends against the champion before him in Jamahal Hill.

A middleweight championship bout seemed like one of the strongest possibilities when we entered 2024. Now-former title holder Sean Strickland was tasked with a UFC 297 defense against South Africa’s Du Plessis in Canada, but was unable to retain as he lost a hard-fought split decision. Therefore, the new 185-pound king “StillKnocks” was once again put in a position to make a relatively quick big-fight turnaround.

Du Plessis, 30, knew what he was getting into with the timeline ahead of his crowning moment and potentially moving on to finally fight former champion Israel Adesanya. Open to things working out as he was with his Robert Whittaker situation at UFC 290 the prior July, everything came down to whether or not it was physically possible.

“With the conversations of [UFC] 300, that would’ve been a massive fight, me and ‘Izzy’,” Du Plessis told Cameron Saaiman. “It was on the table, 100 percent, but one thing people don’t realize is why would I go and start a camp once again injured if I am the champion? Taking risks is one thing, I have been taking risks, a lot, but why would I risk?

“I’m the champion now, and I can fight when I’m ready. I think ‘Izzy’ misjudges himself as still being a champion and he’s not. You will fight when you get the opportunity. You don’t dictate when I fight.”

In the window since UFC 297 in January, Adesanya has claimed Du Plessis didn’t want the matchup at UFC 300 next month. However, Du Plessis can’t help but argue against the claims more than he already has. In terms of recovery, he noted how just this past week he began boxing training again.

Moving forward, the ideal situation for Du Plessis would be to have his first title defense in Africa vs. Adesanya. Missing out on UFC 300 admittedly stings for the new champion, but he is now the one who calls the shots atop middleweight and plans to keep it that way.

“That’s what I tell people. Why wouldn’t I want to fight?” Du Plessis said. “Do you know what the payday would look like? Do you know how the hype — that’s gonna go down in history as one of the biggest events ever, UFC 300. Of course, I want to be a part of that, but there’s one thing that matters to me more than fighting on a massive card like 300. That is being able to defend my title and doing it in a spectacular fashion.

“Yeah, I can take him down and hold him down if I want to. He can’t stop that. I can do that for five rounds. I don’t want to fight like that. That’s not the way I fight. I entertain people. That’s why I have so many performance bonuses. The way we train, I’m going to go out there and give a performance. I don’t want to win, I want to win spectacularly.”


TOP STORIES

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Reign. Matt Brown: UFC ‘squeezing all the juice’ out of Sean O’Malley before Merab Dvalishvili ‘comes in and empties that cup’

Roundtable. UFC 299: Does Sean O’Malley move on to superfights if he gets past Marlon Vera?

Hopeful. Randy Couture expects Francis Ngannou to return to MMA even if he beats Anthony Joshua

Pursuit. Vinicius Oliveira shares alleged DM exchange with Umar Nurmagomedov: ‘I’ll rip your heart out and feed it to some dogs’

Crossover. Donn Davis celebrates Francis Ngannou’s boxing success, happy to wait until 2025 for PFL debut

Commentary. UFC 299 broadcast team set: Joe Rogan, Daniel Cormier join Jon Anik for Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera 2

Aspirations. Benoit Saint Denis not ruling out title shot with Dustin Poirier win: ‘Nothing is impossible for a French guy’


VIDEO STEW

Sound & Pound.

Embedded 2.

O’Malley vs. Vera 2 preview.

Sugar’s rise.

Morning routine.

First fight review.

The War Room: Poirier vs. Saint Denis.

Burns to 299.

Tom and the bearded food-eating guy.


LISTEN UP

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck dissects laundry list of UFC 299 storylines, Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera 2, and more.


MORNING MUSIC


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Jokes.

Art.

Pink champ.

Champs.

Squad.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Du Plessis is in a much more luxurious position with the title now. Turning around in the way that he was asked (twice) is pretty wild and there was no reason to do so after winning the belt.

Thanks for reading!


EXIT POLL

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