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Dricus du Plessis makes history as South Africa’s first UFC middleweight champion

Dricus du Plessis makes history as South Africa’s first UFC middleweight champion
An elated Dricus du Plessis after his victory over Sean Strickland in their middleweight championship bout at the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, on 20 January 2024. (Photo: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

South Africa has their first UFC champion after a bruising performance by Dricus du Plessis over Sean Strickland on Sunday.

Dricus “Stillknocks” du Plessis became the first South African Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) belt holder after beating Sean Strickland by split decision on Sunday morning to take the middleweight belt from the champion.

It was a five-round bloodbath between the two big strikers but ultimately it was the burly South African who came away with the win at UFC 297’s main event in Toronto, Canada.

Du Plessis is now seven wins from seven fights in the UFC, having climbed up the rankings rapidly within four years. He called out former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya after the brawl as a possible first opponent to defend his belt. DM

Dricus du Plessis

Dricus du Plessis won a split-points decision against Sean Strickland to win the middleweight championship at UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, on 20 January 2024. (Photo: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dricus du Plessis lands a left on Sean Strickland during their UFC middleweight championship bout. (Photo: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dricus du Plessis punches Sean Strickland in the UFC middleweight championship bout in Toronto, Ontario, on 20 January 2024. (Photo: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dricus du Plessis

Dricus du Plessis prepares to face Sean Strickland in a UFC middleweight championship bout at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, on 20 January 2024. (Photo: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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