Dricus du Plessis has made it to his debut UFC title bout — and he hopes that champion Sean Strickland will join him in the cage on Saturday night.
Strickland, about as unconventional a champion as has ever been in the UFC, has garnered numerous headlines due to some of his outside-of-the-cage antics and a slew of outspoken comments in recent months. The champ, who defeated Israel Adesanya for the championship last year, even threw down with Du Plessis in the crowd at last month’s UFC 296 — and while Du Plessis says that he isn’t bothered by any of Strickland’s action, he admits that he was concerned that Strickland was trying to find a way out of the fight.
“Am I scared that he self-sabotages this fight? Sure,” the South African title challenger told the media, including The Mac Life, in Toronto on Wednesday.
“Maybe trying everything to get out of it but no, for me right now, the last press conference was winning on the mic,” Du Plessis added. “That was winning with Sean Strickland at his own game. Right now, this week where we’re at, I’m not here to do that. I’m here to be the middleweight champion of the world. My focus is on fighting, not making jokes.
“Getting the crowd to laugh, that’s not why I’m here. I’ve already won that battle. That battle is won. Right now, the battle that needs to be won is the one coming Saturday night and that’s where my mind’s at.”
The challenger added: “There’s nothing he can say that can get under my skin. I’m the mentally strongest fighter in the world, and I told him, you can literally say whatever you want, all is fair in love and war.”