Las Vegas, NV — The nine months since South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis’ UFC debut have flown past, the 27-year old said this week.
A former KSW welterweight champ and EFC welterweight and middleweight champion, Du Plessis debuted against Markus Perez last year, scoring a first-round knockout to make a big first impression.
He was expected to return against Trevin Giles back in March, but Visa issues pulled him from the bout. The stars aligned, however, and it’s Giles he will face this weekend at UFC 264.
Despite the onset of a third coronavirus variant in his native South Africa, “our gym stayed open,” Du Plessis said during the UFC 264 media day this week. “The timing, everything worked out perfect. There was no backyard training for this one, no restrictions. But when I get home, there sure will be.”
Du Plessis added that “I felt so bad, because I had to cancel the fight. And I’m not a guy that pulls out of fights, it rarely happens. I felt so bad for Trevin, firstly, and obviously for myself. I don’t want to put out the image that I pull out of fights, for the UFC, only my second fight. So that was terrible, but it was out of my control.” Luckily, added Du Plessis, the UFC actively tried to sort the matter out. “It wasn’t denied, it was just not ready in time because of the backlog, because of COVID. So they understood completely.”
After Giles earned a win over replacement opponent Roman Dolidze, Du Plessis was keen to keep the match-up. “He’s a game opponent, and I respect him as a fighter, and I think it will make a great fight. So I told them, if we can, let’s just try to schedule it whenever he can.”
Luckily, the promotion came back with the July 10 date. Du Plessis was happy to hear it was a Conor McGregor card, and was open to fighting anyone on the date. Turns out, it was Giles. “The fighting Gods really want us to square off and see who gets that victory.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Dricus Du Plessis above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.