Du Plessis Will Show Chimaev ‘What Real Strength Feels Like’

 Whittaker v Du Plessis
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Du Plessis expects to face Khamzat Chimaev next if he defeats Sean Strickland at UFC 297. It’s a fight the South African is looking forward to.

Dricus Du Plessis is set to fight UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland on January 20th at UFC 297 in Toronto, Canada. Not invited to the 185 pound title party: contender Khamzat Chimaev, who is having some serious issues traveling these days.

Chimaev was promised a title shot with a win over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, but his name reportedly didn’t come up when the UFC decided to slot Strickland into the headline role for their January pay-per-view.

In an interview with James Lynch, Du Plessis said he believes the winner of his UFC 297 title fight will end up facing “Borz” next.

“The UFC is probably going to want to do Khamzat,” he said. “He’s a big draw, and they said if he won the fight against [Kamaru] Usman he’d get a title shot. That’s a fight I would gladly accept as champion, take out the boogeyman, it would be a massive pleasure.”

Du Plessis sounded confident in his ability to handle Chimaev, who still hasn’t faced a top middleweight fighter.

“He’d try to take me down, and he should,” he said when asked how a fight with Khamzat would go. “I don’t think [Chimaev] realizes the power difference between 170 and 185. In terms of style, he tries to outpower everybody he fights, because he wants to show how strong he is. If he fights me and he fights that way, he’s going to find out what strength really feels like.”

Du Plessis will have to get past Sean Strickland first. Strickland stunned the MMA world at UFC 293 when he defeated Israel Adesanya to capture the middleweight title. The new champ says he’s trained with past Du Plessis opponents and is confident he knows what to expect. But Du Plessis has been spoiling his way to the top of the division, and has no plans to stop on the doorstep of a championship.

UFC 297 goes down at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada and also features Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant women’s bantamweight title.