Dricus du Plessis gets chance to fight Israel Adesanya, if he can win just one fight 

Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis are vying for a title shot this summer.

By: Kristen King | 2 months ago
Dricus du Plessis gets chance to fight Israel Adesanya, if he can win just one fight 
Dricus Du Plessis after his fight with Derek Brunson. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Robert Whittaker was one of the first fighters to congratulate—and call out—Israel Adesanya after he dethroned Alex Pereira at UFC 287. Dricus du Plessis may have been a little light on the congratulations, but he was right there with the aggressive needling.

“So you won’t say my name, that’s smart you better not,” Du Plessis wrote in a post on Twitter. ” I don’t need your airtime at all, I have my whole continent of AFRICA behind me.”

Two men who clearly have their sights set, not just on getting a UFC title, but on going through Israel Adesanya to do it.

Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis announced as No. 1 contender

Pending the result of his upcoming fight, Whittaker could indeed see Adesanya soon. UFC president Dana White announced on Friday that the ‘Reaper’ would return to the Octagon against Dricus Du Plessis in a No. 1 contender bout at UFC 290, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Per White, the winner of Whittaker vs. Du Plessis would challenge Adesanya towards the end of the year at an event ‘targeted for Sydney, Australia.’

In his past fifteen appearances, Whittaker has suffered two losses, both to the same fighter: Israel Adesanya. After he lost the UFC middleweight championship to the ‘Last Stylebender’ via second-round KO at UFC 243 nearly four years ago, the 32-year-old rattled off three consecutive wins Against Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. 

On his new three-fight win streak, Whittaker received a rematch against Adesanya, who was coming off of three successful defenses. This time, Adesanya vs. Whittaker II was much closer, but the former fell short to the latter again and lost a unanimous decision. Despite going 0-2 against the City Kickboxing product, Whittaker was determined to fight his way to Adesanya for a third (and potentially) final time. This newest run started at UFC Paris, where the No. 2 ranked middleweight defeated Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision. 

Hoping to stay active, Whittaker was then paired against Paulo Costa to co-headline UFC 284 in February. However, with ‘Borrachinha’ at odds with the promotion over his contract, that fight was canceled. 

Dricus Du Plessis’ rise in The UFC

Dricus Du Plessis went from newcomer to contender in five UFC fights. Following back-to-back KOs of Markus Perez and Trevin Giles, ‘Stillknocks’ received a step up in competition in Brad Tavares. He defeated the UFC veteran via unanimous decision at UFC 276, where he called for a top-ten name in his next fight. He got one, and Du Plessis faced the No. 10 ranked Darren Till at UFC 282, where he earned a third-round submission of the ‘Gorilla’ in their ‘Fight of the Night’ awarded appearance.  

This past March, Du Plessis improved to 5-0 in the UFC with a second-round TKO of Derek Brunson. The South African fighter then called for either a No. 1 contender fight or a title shot, and it appears the promotion went with the first option—though the second option would have had some heat to it. In recent months, Adesanya and Du Plessis have exchanged words (through interviews) over Du Plessis’ comments regarding who was a ‘real African’ fighter. The two-time UFC middleweight champion warned the fast-rising contender, saying he would ‘gladly drag his carcass across South Africa’ if they ever fought.

UFC 290 starts to stack up

With the addition of Whittaker vs. Du Plessis, the current line-up for UFC 290 is as follows: 

  • Featherweight: Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. Yair Rodríguez (IC)
  • Flyweight: Brandon Moreno (C) vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Middleweight: Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis
  • Welterweight: Robbie Lawler vs. Niko Price
  • Lightweight: Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
  • Middleweight: Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore
  • Flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Manel Kape

Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates to the event as they become available in the coming months. 

Share this story

About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

More from the author

Related Stories