In the build-up to UFC297, UFC president Dana White intimated his plans of hosting an event in South Africa.
It was not the first time that White has shared his desire to break ground on the African continent after he stated that 2022 would be the year the most popular mixed martial arts promotion touches down on the MotherLand.
However, just last week, in the build-up to the UFC 297 championship main event between then-Middleweight champion Sean Strickland (USA) and South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis, White reiterated that the brand would make plans to visit the second-largest continent on the planet.
“If Dricus becomes the world champion, it’s a no-brainer. We will go to South Africa. Africa has been on my radar for a long time,” said White last week.
Just this morning, after Du Plessis made history by becoming the first South African to be crowned a UFC king, White addressed the media with some exciting news for African fans.
“Absolutely, positively Dricus could be the guy to spearhead a UFC Africa event,” said White.
“I have been talking about UFC Africa for a long time. Maybe we start looking at South Africa and arenas in the country and possibly doing a fight down there this year,” added White after Du Plessis secured a split-decision win over Strickland at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
White has spoken in the past of South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda as possible locations for a UFC Africa event.
Zooming in on South Africa, thousands of fans have agreed that Cape Town Stadium would be the perfect location for the billion-dollar brand to host its first event, considering the infrastructure available in the City and its track record for hosting world-class events, notably the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
However, it is yet to be confirmed if White would entertain an open-top arena of this kind.
Following Du Plessis’ feat, millions of fans, friends, and high-profile sporting personalities took to social media to congratulate the UFC Middleweight champion.
Dricus ons is almal vreeslik trots op jou. Danko vir wat jy beteken en doen vir 🇿![CDATA]>🇦 Jy’s n absolute Yster & warrior. You fight a lonely sport without a lot of support but you did it! Enjoy the celebrations you deserve it. Lekka! 🇿![CDATA]>🇦 @dricusduplessis pic.twitter.com/wZPNpJzrnd— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) January 21, 2024
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to congratulate Du Plessis in Afrikaans, while Springbok captain also got in on the act on Instagram.
“Dricus, very all very proud of you. Thank you for what you mean and do for South Africa. You are a star and a warrior,” Erasmus said.
“You fight a lonely sport, but you did it! Enjoy the celebrations, you deserve it. Lekka (sic), Dricus!”
South African boxer Keven Lerena says nerves got the better of during the fight on Sunday morning, but is very happy for his compatriot.“
“That was honestly nail-biting to watch. I never even get that nervous when I am fighting,” Lerena said.
“Dricus, I am so proud of you, bro. Dricus, you are not only a great fighter, you are not only a great athlete, you are a great human being, too.
“I am so happy that this has happened to you. South Africa has rallied behind you, but most importantly, you enjoy the moment with yourself, your team, and your family. I am extremely proud of you, bro.”