WATCH | Dricus Du Plessis gets incredible reception as he returns to South Africa with UFC title

By Cole Shelton - January 25, 2024

Dricus Du Plessis got a hero’s welcome in South Africa after becoming the UFC middleweight champion at UFC 297.

Dricus Du Plessis

Du Plessis scored a split-decision win over Sean Strickland on Saturday night to become the promotion’s new 185lbs champion. After the win, he stayed in Toronto for a couple of days to celebrate. When he returned home, ‘DDP’ got an incredible reception as it looked like hundreds, if not thousands of people were there to welcome Du Plessis back to South Africa.


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The turnout was incredible and Dricus Du Plessis was absorbing it all and had a big smile on his face. There’s no question this is a big moment for South African MMA and he spoke to TimesLive after the reception to say how important winning the title is for the country.

“My coach Morne Visser has been my coach for 11 years. He is the only coach I’ve had in this sport. And my teammates, I have a teammate who is going to the UFC soon. Especially now we have somebody who has proven to the world that, here is South Africa, we have the ability, we have the coaches and we have the team and the fight to compete with the best in the world,” Du Plessis said.

“And not only compete, but win. This opens the door for many young fighters to go to the UFC. To get signed to the UFC, because it’s hard to get inside the UFC, especially if you are a country that’s not really recognized as a big fight country,” Du Plessis continued.

With the win over Sean Strickland at UFC 297, Dricus Du Plessis improved to 21-2 as a pro and is a perfect 7-0 in the UFC. To earn the title shot against Strickland, Du Plessis scored a stunning TKO win over Robert Whittaker, while also holding stoppage wins over Derek Brunson and Darren Till.

As of right now, Du Plessis is still soaking in his win but there is a chance the South African makes a quick turnaround to defend his belt at UFC 300. After the win, he also called for his first title defense to be against Israel Adesanya, but nothing is booked as of yet.


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