CAPE TOWN – EFC welterweight and middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis could be on the cusp of making international mixed martial arts history for the second time in a matter of months, after it was announced that he will challenge for the KSW welterweight title in December.
Du Plessis will become the first mixed martial artist to concurrently hold three titles in two weight divisions, from two major promotions, if he wins the December 23 bout against KSW champion Borys Mankowski in Katowice, Poland.
“That’s world history and that’s what I’m chasing. I’m trying to be the best MMA fighter the world has ever seen, and this is part of the journey,” Du Plessis told IOL Sport.
“This is one of the steps on the way there. You can be sure that I will approach this in the same way I approached any fight. I will be so well prepared, and I promise to bring something spectacular.”
The 23-year-old has held the EFC welterweight title since June 2016, when he defeated Martin van Staden.
He went on to claim the middleweight title in August this year when he defeated Yannick Bahati, who also held the middleweight title in British promotion BAMMA at the time.
He is the only person to ever hold two EFC titles at the same time and just the second to win titles in more than one weight division, after former featherweight and current bantamweight champion Demarte Pena.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT! Its time to make history once again, Ill show the world what the future looks like! #Stillknocks #3xchampion #andNew #KSW #preparetobeamazed #Repost @ksw_mma (@get_repost) ・・・ ❗Kolejne starcie mistrzów w KSW ❗ Czempion dwóch kategorii wagowych organizacji EFC Worldwide - Extreme Fighting Championship Dricus "Stillknocks" du Plessis będzie rywalem @mankowski.borys w walce wieczoru gali KSW 41 Katowice! Obok naszego najdłużej panującego mistrza w Spodku zawalczą m.in. @popek_oficjalnie i @tomek_oswiecinski oraz Kléber Koike i @kornik_ksw.
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Pretoria’s Du Plessis was offered the KSW title fight just two weeks after stopping Bahati in the first round.
He started preparing soon after, but was only able to announce the bout this week because of the drawn-out contract negotiation process.
Apart from the prestige of fighting for a major international organisation such as KSW and the potential financial and career implications, Du Plessis believes the fight also represents a fresh challenge and another rung on his climb to the zenith of MMA.
“It’s a new challenge. I’m flying out there to fight a guy in his home town. I think it’s something that prepares me for the biggest stage in the world, which is the UFC,” he said.
“Even if the UFC came calling now, I think this is a better opportunity for me to get this experience. I have to fly out there, cut weight in the middle of winter when it’s -5 degrees and snowing in Poland.
“It’s a going to be a whole new challenge to staying in South Africa, close to the venue, with my people and everyone supporting me.”
Mankowski has defended his title on four occasions since becoming champion in 2014, but lost to middleweight Mamed Khalidov in a non-title, catchweight bout in his last fight in May this year.