Coming off the biggest win of his career with a stoppage victory over Darren Till, South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis (18-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) doesn’t think it will be long before he fights for the UFC middleweight title.
In fact, ‘Stillknocks’ anticipates a title shot next year but doesn’t think it will be against current champion Alex Pereira, suggesting ‘Poatan’ loses to former champ Robert Whittaker.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting), du Plessis credited Pereira as an ‘amazing fighter’ but thinks his title reign will be short-lived, anticipating ‘Poatan’ loses the belt by the time he fights ‘Izzy or Rob Whittaker’ for the title next year.
“I’d be surprised if I don’t fight for the title [in the next year],” Du Plessis said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “I’d be surprised. I said this year, I would be in the top 10 before the end of the year, and that’s happening. I honestly believe I’ll be in the top three in my next two fights.”
“Probably Izzy or Rob Whittaker,” Du Plessis replied when asked who he thinks will be champion when he fights for the middleweight title. “That’s the two guys I see. I don’t think [Alex Pereira is still champion]. I think Alex is an amazing fighter. I think Robert Whittaker beats him. I honestly think Whittaker can beat Alex.”
Du Plessis then explained why he thinks Whittaker beats Pereira but struggles with Adesanya, suggesting a ‘mental block’ is preventing ‘The Reaper’ from defeating ‘The Last Stylebender’.
“Alex is a big dude,” Du Plessis said. “I saw him again on Saturday. He’s big for the weight, but I do think his style, which is more of a flat-footed style, he punches like a truck and he kicks hard and his striking is really good. I just think when it comes to mixed martial arts as a whole, I think Robert Whittaker has a style to beat Ales Pereira.
“I think Whittaker is struggling with Izzy because maybe a mental block, and Izzy is really good at movement, so it makes it hard to take him down. He’s moving a lot, where I believe with Pereira, he’s a much more stagnant fighter. He stands in one spot with his feet planted, and he hits hard. I think that’s something that Whittaker will be able to take advantage of and take him down, and we saw when he’s on the ground and he’s put on his back, or he’s at the bottom, he’s not that great. I think Whittaker takes him down and TKOs or submits him.”
A rematch between Pereira and Adesanya is expected to take place next year, with du Plessis likely only a couple more wins away from reaching title contention himself. Expect the streaking middleweight to surge into the top ten once the UFC updates its rankings next week.
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