Dricus Du Plessis doesn’t expect Alex Pereira to stay champ for long: ‘I think Robert Whittaker beats him’


Following a third-round submission win over Darren Till at UFC 282, Dricus Du Plessis has his sights set on top 10 competition – and hopefully a title shot within the next year.

With a perfect 4-0 record inside the octagon, the 28-year-old fighter from South Africa wants to make a steady climb up the ranks as he looks ahead to a busy 2023.

“I’d be surprised if I don’t fight for the title [in the next year],” Du Plessis said on The MMA Hour. “I’d be surprised. I said this year, I would be in the top 10 before the end of the year, and that’s happening. I honestly believe I’ll be in the top three in my next two fights.”

While there are still a number of potential opponents awaiting him in the division, Du Plessis is keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening with the current title picture. After his remarkable knockout victory over Israel Adesanya, Alex Pereira is now the champion. All signs are pointing toward an immediate rematch, with Adesanya seeking redemption after being ahead on the scorecards before Pereira stormed back for a fifth-round finish.

Du Plessis acknowledges he still has some work to do before earning a title shot of his own. He doesn’t think Pereira will be holding the title of middleweight when he is there.

“Probably Izzy, Rob Whittaker.” Du Plessis replied when asked which fighter he thinks will win the title. That’s what I see.

” I don’t believe [Alex Pereira is still champion]. I think Alex is an amazing fighter. I think Robert Whittaker beats him. Whittaker is a worthy opponent to Alex .”


Whittaker was largely considered the second-best middleweight in the sport for the past few years; he holds wins over almost every top fighter at 185 pounds. But he also has two previous losses to Adesanya.

Whittaker, who is currently preparing for his fight against Paulo Costa in UFC 284 Australia. But Du Plessis believes if “The Reaper” gets the chance to face Pereira, he will walk away as the new middleweight champion.

“Alex “is a big guy,” Du Plessis stated. “I saw him again on Saturday. He’s big for the weight, but I do think his style, which is more of a flat-footed style, he punches like a truck and he kicks hard and his striking is really good. Robert Whittaker is the best mixed martial artist in my opinion.

“I think Whittaker is struggling with Izzy because maybe a mental block, and Izzy is really good at movement, so it makes it hard to take him down. While he moves a lot, Pereira is a more steadfast fighter. He stands in one spot with his feet planted, and he hits hard. Whittaker may be able take advantage of that and bring him down. We saw that he isn’t as strong when he was on the ground with his feet planted. I think Whittaker takes him down and TKOs or submits him.”

Du Plessis must first establish himself within the division to earn fights and a chance at becoming champion. As he looks at the middleweight division and the fighters ranked ahead of him, he sees a couple of potential opponents that would make sense, especially as he targets an early 2023 return.

“Marvin Vettori has been saying he needs a fight,” Du Plessis said. “I would have loved to fight [Paulo] Costa, but he’s scheduled to fight [Robert] Whittaker. This fight is not possible. Even if they do make that fight, it’s probably going to be too late. He won’t fight again in February or March/April.

“Marvin Vettori wants to fight March or April. I would love that fight. That would make a great headline for a fight night .”

If Vettori isn’t available or not interested, Du Plessis will also keep a watchful eye on the upcoming UFC Vegas 66 card where Jared Cannonier faces Sean Strickland in the main event.

” If Sean Strickland won this weekend, then I’d love to fight him,” Du Plessis stated. If Sean Strickland wins this weekend, I would be thrilled to fight him. This fight is exciting. It’s an excellent fight, both stylistically and tactically.

“It’s not that [Jared Cannonier] is bad or something, I just think in terms of hype and the potential of a great, great fight, I just think Strickland’s a better matchup. I think we can have a much more fun fight than I would have with Cannonier. Cannonier would be my choice, but Sean Strickland I think I could beat him convincingly. I also believe that I have the ability to do so in a spectacular manner. Just the way his style and my style compliment each other, it would make for a fun, badass fight.”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/13/23506965/dricus-du-plessis-doesnt-expect-alex-pereira-stay-champion-long-i-think-robert-whittaker-beats-him?rand=96749