- Dricus du Plessis beat Sean Strickland by decision to win middleweight title
- South African is planning on fighting Israel Adesanya next in huge clash
- But he played down chances of it being main event at UFC 300 in April
Dricus du Plessis has played down the chances of a UFC 300 headliner against Israel Adesanya.
The South African overcame Sean Strickland to win the middleweight title by decision at UFC 297 in Toronto and has his sights set on ‘Stylebender’ for his first defence.
With the historic April card yet to have a main event announced, some thought Du Plessis and Adesanya could fit the bill.
But Du Plessis seems to think that is unlikely and is happy to bide his time for a potential promotion debut in Africa, while healing up from the rigours of the Strickland battle.
He told Jacaranda FM: ‘For me right now, we are still busy with some scans, seeing what we can do in terms of after the fight.
Dricus du Plessis (left) and Israel Adesanya (right) are widely expected to fight next
Du Plessis’ dethroned Sean Strickland in Toronto by split decision after five rounds
‘Some injuries, can we fight soon, is that a possibility, and all that. We have to make sure the longevity of my career is also taken into consideration.
‘We’ve had a very active last year, year and a half. We rushed to get to this belt, we had to take every opportunity given to us. Right now, we need to be smart and defend this belt when it suits us.’
He continued: ‘UFC 300 obviously gonna be a milestone event. I would love to be part of that but not if that means I’m not gonna be fully recovered.
‘Defending my title is much more important to me than being on this milestone event.
‘The real milestone event will be UFC in Africa and more importantly, South Africa. I can’t even explain to you how long I’ll be willing to wait to make that happen and defend my belt on home soil.
‘That’s history. UFC 300 is just a number. It’s not as massive as UFC Africa.’
Adesanya, meanwhile, announced last year that he is taking a long break from competition having lost his belt to Strickland.
The former middleweight champion shared a story referencing the landmark event in April
On The Rock podcast, he said: ‘Before this fight I was very like, “I know I’m on the back end of my career, so I want to do as many as I can because I know [when] I’m done with this I’m going to miss it”.
‘I’m trying to do as much as I can. But after this fight, and again, 14 months and four fights, it’s not just the fights, it’s the training and everything. I had injuries going into the Pereira fight, you’ve seen that.
‘I don’t make any excuses. Strickland got me on the night because he was the better fighter on the night. He did his work well. He had a good team behind him.
‘Now I’m going to take time to look after myself, and I’m not going to fight for a long time. I’m definitely not going to retire because I know me — I’m not leaving like that. I know me.
Adesanya said last year that he would be having a long break away from competition
‘But if I did, I’m fine. I don’t need to prove anything else. But I know what I can do and what I can change in my lifestyle to make my body adapt to where I need to be. I’m going to heal myself up. You won’t see me fight for a long time.’
That was last October, so it would be a surprising U-turn if Adesanya was to come back for UFC 300 anyway, although he did tease it recently with a message on Instagram saying: ‘300, the Gods must be crazy’.
With Conor McGregor not expected to return until autumn, there is plenty of fascination about what the headliner of UFC 300 will be with an announcement expected soon.