Dricus Du Plessis On What He Saw In Israel Adesanya’s Eyes During Staredown: ‘Trying To Convince Himself He Still Wants To Do This’

UFC Middleweight Champion Dricus Du Plessis drew some conclusions from his long faceoff with Israel Adesanya last week.

After a bitter feud dating back to the start of 2023, Du Plessis and Adesanya will finally have the chance to settle their grudge inside the Octagon at the upcoming UFC 305 pay-per-view in Perth, Australia, next month.

Having been unable to make the turnaround post-beating Robert Whittaker to face “The Last Stylebender” in Sydney last September, “Stillknocks” set this bout up once again by dethroning Sean Strickland months after he upset Adesanya Down Under.

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With their long-awaited showdown just over a month away, Du Plessis and his challenger went face to face in Perth for an on-sale press conference.

Following some firm words with microphone in hand, the pair engaged in one of the lengthiest and most intense faceoffs in recent memory. And according to the champ, he learned a thing or two from it…

Du Plessis Saw Uncertainty In Adesanya’s Eyes During Perth Faceoff

During a recent appearance on the All Talk podcast, Du Plessis looked ahead to his opening defense of the middleweight title and reflected on his first in-person interaction with Adesanya during the UFC 305 buildup.

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The South African spoke about the importance of pre-fight faceoffs, even branding them the first part of a bout. And given what he claims to have seen in the eyes of Adesanya, the champ evidently believes round one went to him.

“Once I get into that zone for any staredown, there’s no humor in that. That’s when things get serious. That’s part of the fight right there, winning that exchange,” Du Plessis said. “Almost a theme for me in this whole fight is seeing that Israel Adesanya…he has done great things in this sport. But when it comes to as big as he’s gonna get, he has been as big as he’s gonna get. When it comes to the title defenses and the winning streaks, that will never come again because he doesn’t have the time.

“His biggest achievement for him personally was beating Alex Pereira. He had this nemesis who’s beaten him multiple times. And after that fight, he was ready to call it quits,” Du Plessis continued. “That’s what I saw in his eyes as well; trying to convince me but more so trying to convince himself that he still wants to do this and that he still has what it takes to be the best fighter in the world. As soon as you’re asking yourself that question, you’re in a dark place.”

Whether or not Du Plessis draws the same conclusion when they go face to face again when fight week rolls around in Perth remains to be seen.

But given his golf jibe relating to retirement during the recent presser, it would appear that “Stillknocks” sees Adesanya having one foot out the door ahead of his first fight in 11 months.

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