Dricus du Plessis: Middleweight champ acting like a ‘clown’
The victory at UFC290 in Las Vegas now opens the door for Du Plessis to fight for the title against Nigeria's Israel Adesanya later this year.
Dricus du Plessis celebrates after defeating Robert Whittaker in a middleweight bout during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday morning (SA time). Picture: Steve Marcus/Getty Images
When Dricus du Plessis shocked the world in the early hours of Sunday morning he was met by a champion he referred to as a “clown”.
The South African middleweight contender made the world sit up and take notice as he brutally knocked out Australian mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Robert Whittaker.
The victory at UFC290 in Las Vegas now opens the door for Du Plessis to fight for the title against Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya later this year.
Adesanya entered the cage to get in Du Plessis’ face in a racially-charged exchange which the South African referred to as childish .
“You saw tonight, I am prepared for everything he says. You saw how he conducted himself,” said Du Plessis at the post-fight press conference.
“That’s not how a champion behaves, that’s not how a man behaves. There are people looking up to you, You are acting like a clown.”
Du Plessis — always gracious in victory and defeat — was the first to praise Whittaker, who has been at the top of this division for the better part of a decade.
“Being able to share the cage with a legend, a guy that I had a poster of on my wall growing up, wishing to be like him some day,” said Du Plessis after knocking out the Aussie midway through the second round.
Former US president Donald Trump was also in attendance among the 19,000-strong crowd and Du Plessis was quick to jump out of the octagon and shake hands with him and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White.
Boks and Saaiman
This victory capped the prefect day for South African sport.
The Springboks handed out a masterclass to dismantle the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship on Saturday and on the earlier card in Las Vegas, 22-year-old Cameron Saaiman continued his rise in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The undefeated Saaiman continued his winning ways when he finished UFC debutant Terrence Mitchell with some brutal ground-and-pound in the first round.
It was a night that will go down in history as one of the greatest fight cards in UFC history.
MMA legend legend Robbie Lawler ended his 21-year UFC career with a first round knockout.
The co-main event between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja was an absolutely thrilling five-round war, which saw Brazilian Pantoja come out with the slim victory in what was the fight-of-the-night.
The highly anticipated featherweight title unification bout proved to be another amazing performance from Alex Volkanovski.
The Aussie cemented his position as one of the greatest featherweights of all time as he dropped Rodriguez in the third round.