CAPE TOWN – South African Ultimate Fighting Championship athlete, Dricus du Plessis (15-2) has shown nothing but respect and admiration for his upcoming UFC 264 opponent, Trevin Giles (14-2).
The Pretoria-based mixed martial artist, Dricus will line-up against the American police officer in a middleweight clash next Sunday on the much-anticipated Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor trilogy card in Last Vegas.
Dricus and Trevin were originally set to fight on March 20, however, the fight was cancelled due to the former having visa issues.
Looking toward UFC 264, Dricus praised Trevin’s commitment to everything he does.
“The ability to be a full-time police officer, have four children and a family, and still be able to compete at the highest level … That is something I can appreciate about the guy,” says Dricus
“Trevin is not a walkover, he is not just competing in the UFC, he is a threat in the UFC. He has a record of 5-2 in the UFC, that is right up there. He always comes to fight, he’s always game and he puts up a massive performance.
“When the first fight got cancelled, I immediately asked my management to ask Trevin’s management if we can reschedule this fight because I think he is a great fighter, he’s ranked higher than me, and he’s a perfect fight for me,” says Dricus who beat Brazil’s Markus Perez (12-5) in October last year in his short-notice debut.
With all due respect, Dricus now faces a more dangerous opponent who is on a three-fight winning streak with his last victory coming against
Georgia’s Roman Dolidze (9-1) in the bout that was meant to be Dricus’ second fight.
Trevin has more experience in the hallowed UFC octagon with seven fights in comparison to Dricus’ one. A reality and challenge that Dricus relishes …
“I think our styles are going to make for a massive fight, we have everything to put on a massive performance, and that is what I want to do at the end of the day. I want somebody that comes and bangs, all of his fights are exciting to watch,” says Dricus.
“He has one extra win to his name so he is on a three-fight win streak, even higher in rankings, so for me, this is a win-win all the way.”
Trevin has vicious hands and pace with a pretty decent ground game to boot, concluding his current record sheet with a well-balanced six knockouts, five submissions and three decisions.
As per the UFC stats gurus, his takedown accuracy (80%) and defence (79%) is pretty impressive, too.
Dricus on the other hand is a predatory operator who is known for not wasting any opportunities. Aside from his exceptional stand-up, he has built his impressive record on submitting 10 of his 17 opponents, all of whom tapped either via rear-naked choke or guillotine choke. It will be interesting to see if he can add Trevin to his choke list taking into consideration that both of Trevin’s losses came from guillotine chokes.
“All of his fights are big blows, there is a lot of action and that is something that I wanted. He has some speed in his hands which is great.
Trevin is always a game fighter, I have to say that. When he gets tired or is put in tough positions, he always manages to push through and shows a lot of heart. But everything he does, I honestly believe that I have all the tools to beat him, not just in one aspect of MMA, but in most
aspects of MMA ... and maybe all of them. I think I am definitely the better fighter," Dricus says.
Looking back, the first cancelled bout may have been a blessing in disguise considering the possibly more-lucrative opportunity that has now been presented to both athletes being on the prelim card of the Poirier vs McGregor trilogy.
For those unaware, Conor is a global sporting icon and a UFC superstar who is known for pulling off the biggest pay-per-view buys in the history of the sport due to his big personality, business accomplishments and overall ability to get a reaction out of his opponents and fans across the world.
The Irishman was also confirmed as Forbes’ highest paid athlete of 2021 topping the likes of football icons, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Any card that has his name on is guaranteed to pull big numbers and millions of pairs of eyes on the fight card which bodes well for Dricus who appreciates the trust the UFC has placed in him ahead of UFC 264.
“It was quite amazing when I heard the news that I would be on the card,” says Dricus - a former double Extreme Fighting Championship title holder who then went on to grab Poland’s KSW welterweight title, too, prior to signing with the UFC.
“It’s a big step for me in terms of knowing that all the eyes of the world are going to be on me, but it's also a big compliment knowing that the UFC trusts me on a bigger card like this and that they think of me as somebody who can entertain and sell.
“Look at the rest of the card, all the fights are really amazing fights, if you look at the fighters on the main and undercard, it's all guys who always go out there and perform, you don’t have too many athletes who win by decision.
"Look at Gilbert Burns (19-4) and Stephen Thompson (16-4-1), those are guys with highlight-reel knockouts. It’s always an exciting fight to watch, and I believe that is what they want to do with this card.
“The UFC knows it’s a massive card. There is a big chance it will be the biggest pay-per-view card in the history of the UFC.
"With that said, I think they wanted to put on cracker fights and with me having 17 fights and 15 wins all by finish, as well as going out there on short notice in my debut and getting that first-round knockout, it really cemented that."
Dricus - who thrives off high-pressure situations - has fought in front of massive crowds before, but nothing as high profile as this event which will take place at a sold-out (filled to capacity) T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“When those lights shine and that crowd goes wild, whether they are booing at you or whether they are for you, that is where I feel most comfortable. When the stakes are high, the pressure is high and my performance is high. I feel that pressure, but it just makes me perform on the next level,” adds Dricus.
Check out the entire video interview on MzansiMMA’s YouTube channel.