Las Vegas, NV — If you didn’t know Dricus Du Plessis’ name prior to UFC 264, there’s a good chance you do now.
The South African fighter, who landed a stunning knockout of Trevin Giles on Saturday night, even gave a little lesson on pronouncing his name following the fight. But more than anything, Du Plessis was simply blown away by the whole experience.
“My thought coming in was ‘wow.’ So grateful to get the opportunity from the UFC, trusting me. Every fight I believe is trusted by the UFC to put on a performance, because people from all over the world are flying in to watch this fight,” Du Plessis told media outlets including Cageside Press post-fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “This is one of those events where, it’s a Superbowl event that happens every once in a while, that you get a gem like this. So if you are on this card, you have to consider yourself lucky. And I made sure that I made it count. I went out there and I had fun.”
Giles had been high on his jab heading into the fight. In the end, it didn’t really matter. “Trevin Giles said he had the best jab, he didn’t catch me that often, but he does have fast hands,” noted Du Plessis. “When I saw him fall, immediately, it was almost like a flashback to my debut. Every fight has a different feel, it felt absolutely amazing.”
With Du Plessis vs. Giles coming early in the night, the former KSW champ was campaigning for a bonus. “I haven’t watched the fight, I don’t know how good the fight was. It felt pretty good, it felt high intensity, it felt great, that’s why I wanted to face Trevin,” said Du Plessis. “He’s a game opponent. I walked out and I finished a guy who’s never been finished before the third round, he’s only been finished by submission. I came up here, I’m predominantly a submission finisher, and I knocked this guy out. If there’s any props to be given, that’s it.”
Things worked out in his favor in the end, with the promotion awarding Dricus Du Plessis one of two $75,000 Performance of the Night bonuses. The plan moving forward, said Dricus, is to work towards to top 15 in 2022. In the meantime, he’s thrilled by the reaction he saw from fans at home.
“South Africa is going absolutely mad right now. Right now, it’s a quarter past three in the morning. It’s 3AM in South Africa. I fought at 2AM. But the whole country’s up, everybody’s watching.” Du Plessis likened the response to South Africa’s national rugby team, playing in the world cup final.
“The whole country, the support was amazing. Especially being on a Conor card. That’s a big thing for me and for my country, especially being from South Africa,” continued Du Plessis, who noted that the nation is not very well known in fighting, and lacks fighters both historically, and right here and now. “Getting that second victory is absolutely massive for me and for my country, making my country proud. South Africa is going through a lot at the moment,” he added.
“To see a country unite that has been divided by so many things, to unite a country like that, it’s actually greater for me,” said Du Plessis. “The whole country comes together when I fight. This fight, I can’t believe the amount of support from all over. There were no people divided in this fight, people were just rooting for me to win.”
Watch the full UFC 264 post-fight press scrum with Dricus Du Plessis above.