Where to from here for South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis?
Following Strickland's win at the weekend, Du Plessis looks to be stuck in the mixed martial arts wilderness.
Dricus du Plessis missed his shot at the UFC middleweight title. Picture: Steve Marcus/Getty Images
So now where does our very own Dricus du Plessis sit in the middleweight picture in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)?
In the early hours of Monday morning American Sean Strickland shocked the world when he outclassed middleweight champion Israel Adesanya by a unanimous points decision in Sydney at UFC293.
For the last few months all the talk in the division revolved around a bad-blood title fight between No 1 contender Du Plessis and Adesanya.
But Du Plessis — who claimed to be the only true African on the UFC roster despite Adesanya being born in Nigeria — was unable to take the fight, citing a foot injury and needing some time off.
“I’ve been active,” said Du Plessis. “We’ve been active, very active, fighting the whole time. And you need to celebrate these moments. People, that’s what I thought when I landed on home soil again. Everybody starts talking about what’s next. Adesanya? And I’m like, ‘Woah’.”
In steps Strickland, upsets the applecart, and now Du Plessis looks to be stuck in the mixed martial arts wilderness.
Now in the defence of Du Plessis, he did beat future UFC hall of famer Rober Whittaker just nine weeks ago, and such a fight required a very hectic training camp.
But on the flipside, when the UFC offers you a title shot – something that, if you are lucky, only comes around to a handful of fighters – you jump at the chance.
Adesanya to get rematch first
UFC president Dana White is a no-nonsense guy who has shown he only asks you something once.
Now although all may not be lost for Du Plessis, it could be a good while before we see him fight for that title.
History tells us Adesanya will again be next for Strickland due a rematch clause in the contract of a champion.
If this is the case then Du Plessis might only get his shot at gold in a year or more — meaning he probably needs to fight again and win to keep his No 1 contender status.
Personally, I want to see that battle between the two Africans on African soil, so I hope Issy gets his rematch soon — and wins — so we can all be treated to Du Plessis against Adesanya.