Dricus Du Plessis claims middleweight championship, defeats Sean Strickland in five-round UFC 297 blockbuster

The UFC middleweight championship has changed hands once more, after Dricus Du Plessis claimed the belt via split decision. 

The South African was announced as the champion following a five-round marathon fight that came right down to the wire. 

Du Plessis won the belt from Strickland, who was attempting to defend his title for the first time after winning it off of Israel Adesanya last September.

The new champion wasted no time in calling out Adesanya, imploring his old rival to return to the UFC so they could settle their beef. 

Du Plessis defeats Strickland, claims middleweight belt 

Du Plessis was visibly emotional post-fight, calling for his South African flag, and giving props to his opponent for a hard-fought effort. 

Ironically, he also credited Strickland for doing whatever he had to do to sell the fight, merely days after the American went viral for his press conference. 

“I can tell you right now, South Africa, if [the crowd] goes silent we can probably hear them from outside,” Du Plessis said. 

“That country is amazing, thank you South Africa, this is history. 

“I felt it was a really close fight… the first three rounds were give or take, but the last two rounds I know [I won], who says this guy’s not a five-round fighter?

“He has a super, super strong jab, it’s almost like he doesn’t open his hands, every time he hits you with that jab it’s like someone hit you with a rock. 

“Sean Strickland, you are one hell of a man, thank you for bringing the best out of me, thank you for doing what you had to, to entertain fans, you came out here tonight and we kept it professional.”

The South African was also quick to call on another former champion, calling out Adesanya to finally step into the octagon together. 

“Israel Adesanya, get your ass back in the UFC so we can settle the score,” Du Plessis said.  

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