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FIGHT CLUB | Jan 22

What’s Next for the New UFC Middleweight Champ Dricus du Plessis?

The South African Sensation Got the Split Decision Win to Become the UFC Champion

What’s Next for the New UFC Middleweight Champ Dricus du Plessis?
Dricus Du Plessis of South Africa -Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP

Stillknocks’ Dreamed Night 🏆

“I had it 2-2 going into the last round and I thought Strickland won the last round.” -Dana White

In breaking UFC news, South African Dricus du Plessis battled his way to a narrow split-decision victory over Sean Strickland, becoming the latest 185-pound king. But who’s next in line for the new UFC middleweight champ?

Bloody War

If you bought the PPV for UFC 197 then your money was well spent after watching two of the best in the business at 185 pounds go toe-to-toe for five bloody rounds of battle. The oddsmakers called it a coin flip with some shops dealing Strickland as a slight favorite before the two exchanged unpleasantries.

 

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But everyone, except the former champ, came out a winner after the marquee matchup proved that it was up to the hype and then some. If you didn’t see the fight, suffice it to say there was no shortage of action but there was a bit of controversy after the decision was made in du Plessis’s favor.

 

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Fortunately, even those who believed Strickland did enough to keep the strap understood that this was in no way, shape, or form a robbery as the bout was that close with the judge’s scorecards reading 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47 for the winner and new UFC middleweight champion, Dricus du Plessis. It could have gone the other way for Strickland and the same reaction would have been had by those in the du Plessis camp.


Naturally, the UFC’s head honcho, Dana White, wasn’t shy about sharing his opinion even if it conflicted with the judges’ verdict.

I had it 2-2 going into the last round and I thought Strickland won the last round. Um, guys who were sitting at the same table had it the other way. You know, it was a close fight. I thought Strickland looked great in the first two rounds. I mean, the jab was f*****g beautiful. You don’t see jabs like that in MMA. And the jabs did what they were supposed to do. Both of his [du Plessis] eyes were swollen shut.

Who’s Next?

But now that du Plessis is the new king at 185 pounds, who’s next? There is no shortage of potential challengers with a rematch against Strickland a possibility. However, it would appear there are too many other worthy opponents to keep them waiting.


The UFC rumors are already circulating as to who that might be but White had this to say shortly after Saturday night’s bloodbath.

We’ll figure this out [on] Tuesday. We’ll probably announce it next week… We’ll find out next week [if Israel Adesanya will face Dricus du Plessis next].”

Of course, a showdown with the former champ, Adesanya, would make a huge splash considering the bad blood between the two. Dricus du Plessis had previously said he wanted to become the first UFC champ to live in Africa. But that didn’t sit well with Adesanya who felt du Plessis was disrespecting the fact that he was born in Nigeria, a West African nation.


“I want to do it in South Africa or somewhere in Africa. He thinks they’re going to have his back. It’s only the product of him that’s going to have his back. He doesn’t understand who I am. Like I said, he’s created division. I don’t like that. He didn’t have to do that. You don’t understand. I’m here now. I’m going to f*ck this guy up. I’m going to torture this guy.”

Another name of note is the undefeated Russian, Khamzat Chimaev. Either way, it shouldn’t be long before we know who will be the next man up for Stillknocks’ first title defense.

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