Dricus Du Plessis thinks he has gotten into UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland’s head.
Du Plessis is gearing up to face Strickland for the middleweight title at UFC 297, and their rivalry is heating up. During UFC 296, the two got into a scuffle in the crowd, leading security to intervene and remove ‘Tarzan’ from the arena. Before that, the two exchanged heated words during a pre-fight press conference.
In a recent backstage conversation with ESPN MMA, Du Plessis shared that he believes he has gotten into Strickland’s head.
“I’m 5-0 in the T-Mobile Arena and tonight it officially became 6-0,” Du Plessis said. “It’s probably not a good example, but here we are, things happen… The fact that he’s triggered, I don’t give a damn about that. Right now, he needs to get calm in his head. He needs to gain his composure. I know I’m not the champ yet, so I shouldn’t be really giving the champ advice. But, that would be my advice. Gather your composure, be calm. You make mistakes when you’re not calm. I’m cool as a cucumber… The fact that he’s triggered only plays to my advantage. I can’t believe how easy it was to mentally trigger him.”
Even though he may not receive the recognition for it, Du Plessis has developed a knack for getting under his opponent’s skin through his trash-talking. He gained attention when he criticized Israel Adesanya, suggesting that ‘The Last Stylebender’ wasn’t a genuine African champion because he spent most of his time in New Zealand.
Will Dricus Du Plessis’ mental warfare work on Sean Strickland?