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Dricus du Plessis lands plum slot on Conor McGregor’s UFC card

Dricus du Plessis celebrates with the EFC welterweight and middleweight championship belts. Photo: EFC

Dricus du Plessis celebrates with the EFC welterweight and middleweight championship belts. Photo: EFC

Published May 27, 2021


CAPE TOWN - The South African mixed martial artist Dricus du Plessis has landed a plum slot on the undercard of the historic Conor McGregor headlined UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) bill in Las Vegas, in July, in what will be a career highlight.

The Pretoria-based fighter Du Plessis will become part of history since the Dustin Poirier versus McGregor bout will be UFC's biggest pay-perview of all time.

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Du Plessis is thrilled to share McGregor's spotlight, more after McGregor was recently named top of Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes, ahead of football icons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Du Plessis said he had no idea of how big the McGregor bout was until the day when booking opened, and the online tickets were snapped up in under a minute.

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For the past year, all events at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, were staged behind closed doors. Now the venue will finally be at full capacity for the July bout.

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The audience will be just over 20 000.

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"It might not be very well known, but the UFC has grown into a multibillion-dollar enterprise globally," said Du Plessis.

"It has grown tremendously over the past few years. The UFC has become the world's leader in the combat sports industry.

"It was mind-boggling that when online booking opened for the bout, just over 20 000 tickets were snapped up in 28 seconds.

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"I have fought in front of 32 000 fans at Wembley two years ago, but this blockbuster Vegas event will be the highest profiled bout ever in UFC history.

"I'm thrilled to be part of UFC history, and the exposure will be huge.

“It is estimated that this ultimate money-spinner will attract close to a whopping three million pay-per-view buys."

Du Plessis will go up against American Trevin Giles in the middleweight division.

The match-up would have taken place in March at the UFC Apex facility in Enterprise, Nevada, but Du

Plessis had visa problems.

"Trevin is on a three-match winning streak, so his career is on an upward curve," said Du Plessis.

"He is a polished striker and has a good jab, even though he's not shy to say so himself.

"From what I've learnt from tapes of his fights, the striking exchanges will be decisive.

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“You cannot afford lapses of concentration, otherwise he'll punish you."

This will be his debut appearance in the United States although Du Plessis has spent several years training in various gymnasiums around America.

Du Plessis first alerted the world of combat sports to his talents when he won championship titles in the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC).

He won the continental middleweight (2017) and welterweight (2016) belts.

Du Plessis also fought under the KSW banner, a Poland-based mixedmartial-arts organisation that has attracted some of the world's finest fighters.

In 2018, Du Plessis won the KSW welterweight belt in Poland.

All the red-tape processes have been completed for his trip to the US. Du Plessis flies out at the end of June.

"I'm spending most of my time sparring now, and I'm working with a very good team," said Du Plessis.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I want to be at my best.

"Millions will be watching, and a good performance will ensure that I will be invited to fight in upcoming major events."

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