UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is just under two weeks away from his next title defense against Sean Strickland at UFC 293.
But the often-boisterous champ isn’t focused on Strickland. Instead, it seems he still has his sights set on potential future opponent Dricus Du Plessis.
Du Plessis, who is fresh off a win over former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 in June, was expected to be the next challenger for Adesanya’s title.
The reigning champ even entered the cage to confront him following the victory and the two exchanged words in the days after.
“Even after [UFC 290], he’s like, ‘Oh, bro, all you had to do was put some gloves on, we could have got it on right there.’ B——- f—. You wouldn’t have,” Adesanya said. ‘Cause guess what? He didn’t want it…People were like, ‘Oh, he’s so classy walking away. He’s so [classy].’ I’m like, ‘Bro, he didn’t even walk away. He felt me.’ He didn’t wanna feel me.”
But the fight never came to fruition due to a lingering foot issue for Du Plessis, who turned down the fight at UFC 293.
Now Adesanya says he may have missed a big opportunity
“I’m not mad, I’m disappointed,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “He missed out on his opportunity. That would have been [huge], but again, I think it’s for the greater good. That’s OK. When it happens, it will be one the biggest fights in sporting history. All in due time.”
Though the champion says he has other plans in mind for Du Plessis.
“It could happen in South Africa,” Adesanya said. “It could happen somewhere on the great continent of Africa. (Or) it could happen in Nigeria, Morocco, even South Africa — it would be better if we had it in South Africa. I’d like to whoop his a– in his own home country.”
One thing is certain, when the fight does happen (if it does happen), it’ll be must-see TV.