Dricus du Plessis on being bumped to UFC 285 prelim card: 'I think it's bullsh*t'

Dricus Du Plessis has done everything right since joining the UFC with four wins, three finishes and three fight bonuses. Photo: Supplied

Dricus Du Plessis has done everything right since joining the UFC with four wins, three finishes and three fight bonuses. Photo: Supplied

Published Mar 2, 2023


Cape Town — South Africa’s No 10-ranked Middleweight Dricus du Plessis has called out the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for bumping him down to the preliminary card for his fight with fifth-ranked Derek Brunson at UFC 285 this weekend.

Du Plessis will compete in the organization's 185-pound division after going on a tear since making his debut with four wins, three stoppages and three-fight bonuses.

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In his last bout, he finished former UFC contender and global superstar Darren Till via rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC 282 main card bout.

Media personality “The Schmo” asked Du Plessis about his thoughts on why UFC debutant and US wrestling sensation and Middleweight Bo Nickal got a main card slot instead of him.

“Look, the organization is probably thinking: ‘we have an American Khamzat Chimaev here’,” said Dricus referring to Nickal potentially having the same star power as Sweden’s grappling king, who has made an incredible impact since making his debut.

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“But to be honest, I think it’s bulls**t. This guy is coming in to make his UFC debut fighting on the main card. I have had four fights and three performance bonuses, and now I get booted to the undercard. But there is no hate, it’s not his fault. He is only here to fight, but the proof is in the pudding, all will be revealed once he is under those bright lights.

"Let’s see how he performs then,” said Du Plessis.

Before moving over to mixed martial arts, Nickal earned a notorious reputation on the wrestling scene. He is a former freestyle wrestler who claimed the 2019 Under-23 World Championship and the US Open National Championship before making the finals of the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials.

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As a collegiate wrestler, Nickal was a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion.

To the greater MMA world, Nickal was first on the radar when former Welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal brought him in to assist with his wrestling.

After one win in Masvidal’s iKON FC, Nickal was selected to compete in the Dana White's Contender Series, where he secured two first-round finishes in both appearances. Nickal was then set to face compatriot Jamie Pickett at UFC 282 last year, however, the fight was cancelled and will now take place this weekend at UFC 285.

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Picket will be making his seventh appearance on a UFC fight card, and in his previous six fights, he only secured two unanimous decision wins.

Should Nickal earn a win over Picket, he could easily be fast-tracked to a spot in the rankings, as it is clear the UFC has plans to build hype around the former wrestling star.

UFC 285 will see the return of former Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones of the US, who will face France’s Ciryl Gane for the vacant Heavyweight title in the main event after Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou relinquished his championship.

A win for Du Plessis could push him up to the top five of the Middleweight divisions and closer to title conversations.


IOL Sport

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