Dricus Du Plessis celebrates after defeating Robert Whittaker in a middleweight bout during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena on July 08 (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
- South African UFC star Dricus du Plessis is 10 days away from the fight of his life.
- The 29-year-old will be contesting for the promotion’s coveted middleweight title against Sean Strickland.
- Du Plessis, an ardent Springbok supporter, is now on the receiving end of the national unity the Boks felt in 2023.
- For more sports news, visit News24 Sport’s home page.
With just over a week to go until the night of his life, South Africa’s UFC superstar, Dricus du Plessis, is already being showered with messages of support ahead of his middleweight title fight against Sean Strickland.
Du Plessis will become the first South African to contest for a title when UFC 297 is staged in Toronto, Canada, with his highly anticipated duel against Strickland pencilled in for 05:00 on Sunday morning (SA time).
READ | Wild scenes as Dricus du Plessis, Sean Strickland clash in crowd
With the world of mixed martial arts steadily growing all the time, South Africans now have an ‘in’ on the biggest stage of them all, with Du Plessis having been one of the hottest names in the business over the last year.
He made his UFC debut in 2020 and has won all six of his bouts in the promotion since, while he has only lost twice in his entire combat career, boasting an overall mixed martial arts career record of 20-2-0.
It was last July’s second-round TKO win over former champion Robert Whittaker, though, that really catapulted Du Plessis into title contention, and he now has an opportunity to make UFC history by becoming the first South African champion of all time.
Nicknamed ‘Stillknocks’, the Pretoria-born 29-year-old has quickly become a household name in South Africa, with his passionate fanbase expanding seemingly by the day.
His star even extends to the Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks, where he has become a close friend of many of the players in the current group.
Du Plessis was in the grandstands of the Stade de France on 28 October when the Springboks beat New Zealand to win a record fourth Webb Ellis Cup.
Now, on the eve of what Du Plessis has dubbed his own World Cup final, the Boks are returning the favour.
“Hulle weet nie wat ons weet nie!” Bok and Bulls fullback Willie le Roux shared via social media.
“Everyone, support the man and scream for the man. It’s a big title fight and we are here and behind you and the whole nation is behind you. We back you all the way, the way that you backed us.”
Centre Jesse Kriel, meanwhile, shared Le Roux’s sentiments.
“Dricus, we back you like you backed us,” he said.
“Good luck for your title fight. Your whole country is behind you and we’re going to be cheering you on.”
Prop Ox Nche also encouraged South Africans to get behind Du Plessis.
?? Brace for an electrifying showdown as Dricus Du Plessis gears up to face Sean Strickland! Join us as Dricus unleashes his fighting prowess in a battle for supremacy. Watch the fight in both Xhosa and Afrikaans live on SuperSport. #AndNew pic.twitter.com/FwHFQAQD9N
— Retshegofaditswe Nche (@oxnche) January 1, 2024
“Please don’t miss the chance to catch him out as he aims for UFC glory. All the best, Dricus. We are all behind you.”