Morning Report: Dricus du Plessis believes Israel Adesanya win puts him in GOAT conversation: ‘I belong here’

Dricus du Plessis expects to take his legacy to the next level with his first title defense.

The UFC middleweight title returns to Australia for UFC 305 in the city of Perth when the South African champion du Plessis gets his long-awaited grudge match. For his first title defense, “Sillknocks” will be challenged by former two-time champion Israel Adesanya on Aug. 17.

Tension quickly developed between the elite 185-pounders in 2023 before they nearly met at UFC 293 this past September. Unfortunately for du Plessis, injuries sustained in his big upset win over Robert Whittaker the previous summer prevented his turnaround and led him down a different route to the title while Adesanya lost in his absence. When they finally meet in the octagon, South Africa’s finest sees himself joining a historic conversation.

“I’ve always looked at Israel Adesanya as the benchmark,” du Plessis told Fox West Texas. “Now, ‘Izzy’ became a champion a long time ago, and I’ve looked at him and always knew this is where I need to be if I ever want to be the best in the world. This is the benchmark.

“He is one of the greatest to ever do it, and this fight for me is going to put me in that position. This is where I take over as one of the greatest to ever do it. This is where my years of building and climbing that ladder is going to a point where I am now the guy that’s one of the greatest to ever do it.”

Anderson Silva will forever be the pinnacle for longtime MMA fans as middleweight’s insurmountable best ever with his 10 title defenses and record 16 straight wins in the UFC. However, Adesanya’s interim title, five-defense run, and reclaiming of his crown have put him at No. 2 all-time for most.

The 30-year-old du Plessis can get well on his way to climbing the list by extending his current UFC win streak to eight (10 overall). A win for du Plessis (21-2) would be his third straight against a current or former UFC middleweight title holder.

“He’s a very smart fighter,” du Plessis said on Adesanya. “He figures out his opponents, and he sets a lot of traps. He does it incredibly well. So, for me, this fight is just like how beating Robert Whittaker was. It’s a fight that people don’t think you’re going to win. It’s a hard fight.

“I’m fighting against arguably one of the greatest middleweights ever, and I have to go out there and prove that I am that guy. That’s what this fight is going to mean to me. It’s going to mean I told you I belong here. This fight is going to mean that Dricus du Plessis is now in the conversation of being one of the greatest middleweights ever.”

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Between the Links.

UFC 303 Pre-Fight Presser.

Shogun and Coleman.

Alexa Grasso Noche UFC Announcement Media Scrum.

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Full fights.

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Almighty fight camp.

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Wonderboy predicts.

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No Bets Barred. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew and Conner Burks discuss if Jiri Prochazka will get short-notice revenge on Alex Pereira at UFC 303.

Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you’re currently really into. I’ll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!

Get ‘em, Dan.

Let’s slow it down a bit now.

Nasty. Late.





Strickland thoughts.




More chama.





Miranda Maverick (13-5) vs. Dione Barbosa (7-2); UFC Vegas 94, July 20

Christian Leroy Duncan (10-1) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (15-5); UFC 304, July 27

Mohammad Yahya (12-4) vs. Kauê Fernandes (8-2); UFC Abu Dhabi, Aug. 3

Stephanie Luciano (5-1-1) vs. Talita Alencar (5-0-1); UFC Vegas 95, Aug. 10

Roman Kopylov (13-3) vs. Brunno Ferreira (12-1); UFC Vegas 96, Aug. 24

Jessica Andrade (26-12) vs. Natália Silva (17-5-1); UFC Vegas 97, Sept. 7

William Gomis (13-2) vs. Joanderson Brito (17-3-1); UFC Paris, Sept. 28

An Adesanya win would obviously be great for du Plessis’ resume. It would be more impressive if he ended Adesanya’s title reign and Adesanya wasn’t coming off a loss, but that’s not his fault. It feels weird to determine where he’d rank all time. It’s been a short span. I think personally Top 15 sounds right. I’d have to think harder about the rest though.

Happy Friday, gang. Enjoy your weekend. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on Monday!


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