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Dricus du Plessis Focused on Bringing Card to Africa, Not UFC 300

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Rumors of Dricus Du
Plessis potentially defending his belt at UFC
300 are most likely not true.

Coming off a split-decision title win over Sean
Strickland in a nailbiter at
UFC 297 last month, du Plessis doesn’t have a potential
timeline in mind for his first defense.

“I have no idea [when it’ll be]. For me, right now, we are still
busy with some scans and seeing what we can do in terms of after
the fight, some injuries; can we fight soon, is that a possibility
and all that,” the middleweight champ told South African radio
station Jacaranda FM. “So that’ll be great [to get that done],
that’ll be great, but we have to make sure that the longevity of my
career is also taken into consideration. We’ve had a very active
last year, year and a half. And that’s what I said, 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.”

Rumors of a potential UFC 300 outing stemmed from a cryptic tweet
by former champ Israel
Adesanya, who is expected to be du Plessis’ next opponent.

Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight and analyst
Michael
Chiesa subsequently said that the promotion was targeting the
fight for UFC 300. While du Plessis acknowledges the significance
of the card, he isn’t willing to sacrifice his recovery to be a
part of it.

As the first South African UFC champ, bringing the promotion to his
home country for a title defense remains du Plessis’ primary
focus.

“I think UFC 300 is obviously going to be a milestone event,” the
30-year-old said. “I think it’s going to be great. Every time you
have the UFC 100, UFC 200, and now 300, all of them are massive
events and the pay-per-views are insane; it’s a massive hype, and I
would love to be part of that, but not if it’s going to mean that
I’m not going to 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 remains the preferred opponent for du Plessis for his
first title defense and “Stillknocks” believes it will most
probably be so. However, the South African hasn’t completely shut
the doors on a rematch against Strickland if circumstances call for
it.

“I wouldn’t mind, if that’s what the UFC wants. I always say, as a
champion, you want to give the people the fight they want to see.
For me, that’s the important thing. I want to be champion of the
world so I don’t want to pick any fights because there’s going to
be an easier fight. If you want to be the best in the world, you
have to fight whoever is the next toughest guy in the division. So
if the UFC decides they want to do Strickland two, I’m completely
happy with that. If the fans say, no, that’s the fight they want,
let’s do it. I honestly think the second fight will be a lot easier
than the first one.”

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