UFC 282: Dricus Du Plessis Expects to Be Title Contender “By the End of 2023”

Las Vegas, NV  — Following UFC 282, if it hadn’t been clear already, it’s almost certain that Dricus Du Plessis has arrived in the UFC’s middleweight division.

The former KSW champion engaged in a grueling war with Darren Till, nearly putting away the British fighter in the opening round. Till mounted a comeback in the second, but come the third, Du Plessis (18-2) was able to take him down and put him away.

The South African even showed some new wrinkles in his game. “I guess tonight I came out and showed that listen, I can go for leg locks if I have to,” Du Plessis told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “Even surprised myself a little bit with that.”

The main card scrap earned Fight of the Night at UFC 282, and Du Plessis was equally happy with showing his well-rounded skill set.

“I shot for a few takedowns that didn’t land, and even though I don’t really care if they landed, because it was a stand-up war, I don’t like it if anybody thinks that I’m not good anywhere in this sport,” he stated. “I’m good everywhere. And I wanted to come out and prove that tonight.”

Du Plessis admits to being surprised at how things played out in the first round. That saw him land virtually dozens of unanswered strikes on Till. “I got the takedown and then all of a sudden I had his arm trapped, and I was just landing these massive shots.” In the next moment, the ref was warning Till that he would stop the fight. “I’m glad the ref didn’t stop the fight,” Dricus admitted. “A lot of people said ‘maybe he could have.’ No. It was fair play. Every time the ref told him and warned him, he did improve his position.”

In the third round, Du Plessis knew it was time to finish the fight. “I didn’t even consider that fact that I was going to go to a decision, I knew I was going to finish that fight. And I knew if I could take Darren down, I could finish the fight at any moment.”

On the subject of whether he wants a gradual build, or a quick run to the top, Dricus Du Plessis really only sees one option.

“I think gradually, that ship has sailed. I just beat Darren Till. I just made my proper stamp, I just got a proper stamp in a Fight of the Night in the top 10 of the division,” he stated. “I said in my last fight that I will be in the top 10 before the end of the year. Here I am.”

“I’m telling you guys now I’ll be a title contender by the end of 2023.”

Another South African fighter, Cameron Saiiman, made his promotional debut at UFC 282, and Du Plessis is thrilled for his teammate and countryman. Saiiman defeated Steven Koslow in the first fight of the night in Las Vegas.

“I’m so incredibly happy for him. This kid has put in all the work. And he deserves to be here. He deserves to be here, and he showed that tonight. That’s what I wanted people to see. A lot of people said ‘oh he’s too young, it’s too early.’ I wanted tonight to be so amazing that I don’t have to tell anybody. We don’t have to tell anybody that Cameron deserves to be here. Cameron showed he deserves to be here tonight.”

Watch the full UFC 282 post-fight press conference with Dricus Du Plessis above.