Dricus Du Plessis hints at UFC 305 title fight with Israel Adesanya in Australia


It’s looking more and more like Dricus Du Plessis will make his first title defence against Israel Adesanya later this year and the current middleweight champion hinted Tuesday the anticipated matchup could take place this summer at UFC 305 in Perth, Australia.

Du Plessis won a split decision over Sean Strickland at UFC 297 in January to capture the belt, while former longtime champ Adesanya hasn’t fought since losing the title to Strickland via unanimous decision at UFC 293 in September in Sydney, Australia.

It had been speculated an immediate rematch between Du Plessis and Strickland was a potential option since it was such a closely contested five-round bout — UFC president Dana White even said he thought Strickland should’ve walked away with his hand raised — however an all-African matchup between South Africa’s Du Plessis and the Nigerian-born Adesanya is the consensus more compelling matchup overall.

“Looks like someone wants another beating in Aus..,” the 185-pound titleholder wrote in a post on social media, presumably alluding to a hypothetical bout with Adesanya, as well as the former champion’s most recent outing. “I’m in, I also wouldn’t want to fight the king of Africa on home soil. Manifestations working good for you AGAIN!”

Ariel Helwani reported Tuesday neither side has received an official offer but that both camps want this championship matchup to happen.

The UFC has made no official announcement regarding a possible Du Plessis vs. Adesanya matchup.

Adesanya claimed in February that he had accepted a proposed championship bout with Du Plessis at UFC 300 when the UFC was at the time still seeking a main event for the upcoming milestone card, however Du Plessis did not accept the fight as he was still recovering from his bout with Strickland during which he absorbed close to 200 total strikes.

The UFC has never held an event in Africa and White said back in January he thought a Du Plessis title defence could possibly be befitting of headlining the UFC’s inaugural event on the continent. The UFC was unable to host an African-based event whilst they had three active African champions (Adesanya, Kamaru Usman and Francis Ngannou) and a Du Plessis vs. Adesanya matchup would be an ideal matchup to headline a blockbuster event in Africa.

Australia would also be a fitting setting for this proposed title fight.

The UFC recently announced it will return to RAC Arena in Perth on Aug. 17 for UFC 305 but did not announce any matchups for the pay-per-view event. Adesanya is a citizen of New Zealand and is quite familiar with competing in that part of the world.

Adesanya made his successful UFC debut in Perth in 2018. The 34-year-old former two-time UFC champ defeated the legend Anderson Silva in Melbourne and won the title there by knocking out Robert Whittaker. He also headlined in Sydney when he fought Strickland.

In fact, Adesanya vs. Du Plessis was initially targeted to headline UFC 293 yet Du Plessis was unavailable for that event due to injury and Adesanya was booked to face Strickland instead.

The UFC has hosted 17 live events in Australia since 2010 with the most recent being UFC 293 seven months ago.

The 185-pound division has been particularly intriguing through the first quarter of 2024 and that should remain the case for the foreseeable future regardless of whether Du Plessis and Adesanya end up headlining the UFC’s next trip Down Under.

A middleweight title eliminator between former champion Robert Whittaker and undefeated star Khamzat Chimaev was recently announced for a UFC Fight Night main event this summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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