Currently occupied by a title defense opposite Sean Strickland this weekend at UFC 293, undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has now distanced himself firmly from a title outing with Dricus du Plessis, questioning the South African’s claim to a challenge.
Adesanya, a two-time and current undisputed middleweight champion under the banner of the promotion, returns this weekend to top UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia – taking on the surging number four ranked, Strickland at the Qudos Bank Arena.
However, prior to Strickland’s involvement in his premier title fight under the promotion’s scrutiny, Adesanya was expected to fight opposite the newly-minted number one contender, du Plessis.
Landing atop the rankings pile at UFC 290 back in July, Pretoria native, du Plessis stopped former champion and common-opponent, Robert Whittaker with a blistering second round TKO, however, a lingering foot injury ruled him from a quickfire turnaround with Adesanya.
Israel Adesanya unsure on title fight with Dricus du Plessis after UFC 293
And recently playing up the fact that du Plessis may now have missed out on his chance to challenge him, Adesanya, who has been conflicting in his thoughts on a future pairing, stressed that it may not come in the foreseeable future.
“I don’t know – you have to ask Dana (White),” Israel Adesanya told assembled media ahead of UFC 293. “Dricus (du Plessis), doesn’t know how to play the game. Look, you can’t sit on your f*cking – is it ranking or whatever? And you think you’ve got it locked in.”
“This is the UFC, if you look back at the history of the UFC, sh*t happens, you know,” Israel Adesanya explained. “So he thought he was sitting pretty, but he might have to fight two more times before he gets a shot at this.”
Adesanya’s claims follow suit of recent suggestions from his City Kickboxing head coach, Eugene Bareman, how du Plessis may have, in fact, missed his call for a title siege, while UFC leader, White also stressed how he was not a fan of fighters apparently turning down quick turnarounds.