At just 25 years old, South African Dricus Du Plessis has claimed titles on several continents across various weight classes, but he is confident that 2020 will be the year that he will sign on the dotted line with the UFC.
After snatching both the middleweight and welterweight titles with EFC, “Stillknocks” arrived on European soil as a relative unknown and left viewers awestruck when he stopped uber prospect Roberto Soldic to claim the KSW welterweight title.
Although Soldic would reclaim the title in their rematch, Du Plessis has looked dominant since returning to his preferred weight class at 185 pounds. He’s tagged on two stoppage wins since his middleweight return, ending the six-fight win streak of Joilton Santos at KSW 50 before reclaiming the EFC title on home soil in December.
“That was the first time I had fought in my hometown in South Africa, so it was a big fight for me as a personal achievement,” Du Plessis told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.
“I started my career in EFC, from the first day, so to be back in there fighting in front of my home crowd after being away for so long, it was probably one of the craziest crowds I’ve ever fought in front of. Maybe it wasn’t the most amount of people, the arena wasn’t that big, but the crowd went crazy. It’s just that feeling of fighting in front of your home crowd, it’s absolutely awesome.”
There have been South Africans in the UFC ranks in the past, but Du Plessis feels as though fighters like him and Don Madge represent a new era for the country on the world’s biggest MMA stages.
“We’ve had a few guys [in the UFC], but that was the older generation if you will…guys that came to the UFC and didn’t do that great, but still paved the way for us. Now we have Don Madge, he’s in the UFC, he’s doing well; he’s doing great things. I’m a young guy, I’m only 25 years old, so that’s a big advantage. I’m the next generation, that’s what they say, and I truly believe that I’ll bring something that the people haven’t seen before. I want to put South Africa on the map and really, I want to be the first one to get a belt for South Africa in the UFC.”
With his future committed to 185 pounds, many European fans have been calling for Du Plessis to be the next challenge for Scott Askham’s middleweight crown. As far as the EFC champion is concerned, a clash with the Englishman is an appealing option.
“I’m still with KSW, my contract is not exclusive so I want to fight preferably in March, but if not, April would be great,” said Du Plessis.
“If something doesn’t come up, the fight with Scott [Askham], that’s a massive fight for me and it’s one I’d love to take. He’s saying a lot of things because I wasn’t fighting at 185, but if they wanna give me another fight before I fight him, I’m cool with that. At this weight, I can fight back to back, it doesn’t bother me. It’s a matter of time, if he doesn’t want to take the fight right now, I’ll keep working until they can’t deny me that shot.”
Should he maintain his current form, Du Plessis is confident that 2020 will be the year that he makes his debut in the Octagon.
“I just know if I keep doing what I’m doing and I have the right people to help me, [I’ll get to the UFC],” he said.
“I do have the right people helping me to get where I need to be. As a fighter, I just need to keep on winning to keep my name out there in the international ranks. I need to keep people talking, keep people wanting it until I becomes an undeniable force. I don’t think there’s one thing I need to do, it’s just a matter of the stars aligning perfectly and the opportunity will come. I’m enjoying the whole journey of making it to the big stage.”
“I’m 100 percent sure I’ll be a big name on one of the biggest stages in the world by the end of 2020,” he added.
Check out EFC champion Dricus Du Plessis’ [47:00] interview on this week’s Eurobash