Dricus du Plessis admit it’s not smart fighting Robert Whittaker

May 23, 2023

Dricus du Plessis wants to be the UFC middleweight champion. The current titleholder, Israel Adesanya, wants to fight him. But instead, the South African fighter is taking on former champion and top contender Robert Whittaker.

Dricus du Plessis knows he’s not taking smart fight en route to UFC title

He admits that it isn’t the smartest route to becoming champion, but claims he didn’t become a fighter to be smart.

“A lot of people are saying it’s not the smartest move to fight Whittaker and 100 percent, I agree with that,” Du Plessis said recently on Submission Radio.

“I agree it’s not the smart move, but I’m not here to be smart. Otherwise, I would’ve stayed in school and finished my studies, gone to work at a bank, wore a suit to work every day, and do some corporate life. But that’s not the life I chose. I chose to be a warrior, to be an entertainer, and at the end of the day, I’m a fighter. And that’s what I do, I fight.”

Dricus du Plessis could be fighting Israel Adesanya instead

Ranked No. 6 in the 185-pound division with a 19-2 record, du Plessis was in a solid position to challenge for the title, as Adesanya has already defeated most of the fighters ahead of du Plessis. He’s defeated Whittaker twice, which makes du Plessis’s choice to fight Whittaker all the more dangerous, though there’s a tremendous upside, as well.

And du Plessis wants to prove his worth to fans, and himself, by taking the hard road to the title. It’s also a smart way to make sure he’s prepared for the challenge that Adesanya presents.

Robert Whittaker is a challenge and solid prep for Israel Adesanya

Though Whittaker has twice lost to Adesanya, he’s entrenched himself at the top of the division, as those are his only losses at middleweight. He has defeated all the best the division has to offer, but those two defeats keep him at arms length of another title shot.

“I think a guy like Whitaker, no mistakes can be made, and every opportunity given must be an opportunity taken. If he misses, he has to pay. If he slips up, I have to capitalize on every single time he makes a mistake. I need to be there waiting and exploiting that mistake,” said du Plessis. “And I think that’s the key to victory.”

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And a victory by over Whittaker would make du Plessis an undeniable challenger in everyone’s eyes, including his own.

“I don’t want to get that title shot based on some hype created by some guy who has the title who’s behaving like a little child and overreacting and now the fight is happening because of that,” Du Plessis said. “I want to deserve my title shot. I don’t want to be handed a title shot. I’m going to deserve that belt, and that’s why I wanted that Whittaker fight.”