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Dricus du Plessis Makes History as South Africa’s First UFC World Champion



SA's first UFC world champion

In a historic moment, Dricus du Plessis became SA’s first UFC world champion. He clinched the UFC Middleweight Championship from Sean Strickland at UFC 297.

Du Plessis triumphed in the highly anticipated middleweight title fight, with judges scoring the bout 48-47 in his favour. The South African, competing in his first five-round fight for his inaugural UFC title, emerged victorious after a hard-fought battle.

Addressing the audience in Afrikaans during his post-match interview, Du Plessis proudly exclaimed, “The world now knows what we know.”


This victory marked a remarkable 6-0 start to Du Plessis’ UFC career, showcasing a swift rise to the championship in slightly over three years since his debut with the organisation. Now, he stands at the pinnacle of his division.

The defeat is a significant setback for Strickland, following a stunning upset against Israel Adesanya to win the belt. Unfortunately, he fell short in defending it and solidifying his status as champion.

Also read: Du Plessis Sets Sights on UFC Title Glory


The fight had a challenging beginning as Du Plessis, known for his fast starts, adopted a more conservative approach early on, allowing Strickland to establish his trademark jab. Tarzan’s defensive wrestling played a crucial role in the initial stages, with Du Plessis landing a few takedowns, although Strickland quickly returned to his feet.

After three rounds, the fight remained closely contested, with Du Plessis landing heavy shots, including one that opened up a cut on Strickland’s eye. However, Strickland’s constant pressure and volume caused swelling in DDP’s eye, indicating a close title fight.

Despite a strong fourth round by Du Plessis, the remaining rounds saw close competition, with varying scorecards circulating on social media. The two fighters received a resounding cheer from the crowd after putting it all on the line in a gruelling slugfest.


Du Plessis’ impressive rise to the championship adds another feather to his cap. Making his UFC debut in October 2020, the South African needed only six fights to prove he was ready for the opportunity, etching his name in history as South Africa’s first UFC world champion.

Also read:

Siya Kolisi Leaves Touching Message for MMA Star Dricus du Plessis

Picture: X / AfricaFactsZone

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