Dana White Confirms Adesanya’s Next Opponent
UFC President Dana White announced a massive fight this week: Robert Whittaker will be taking on Dricus Du Plessis in a middleweight bout at UFC 290 in July. Whittaker is currently the #2-ranked fighter in the division, with Du Plessis ranked at #6.
Challenging the Champ
White did more than just confirm this fight, though– he also alluded to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s next fight.
“The former champion Robert Whittaker– whose only losses in the last nine years are to the champ Israel Adesanya– he will be taking on Dricus Du Plessis. Du Plessis has won seven straight fights and finished six of them. The winner of that fight will fight Adesanya later this year. And that fight is targeted for Sydney, Australia.”
This is massive news for the future of the middleweight division. Before this announcement, it was unclear who would next challenge Adesanya for the belt, especially with former champ Alex Pereira moving up to light heavyweight.
Though it’s early, Robert Whittaker has opened as the heavy favorite for this bout. He begins at -340, which is not surprising considering his status as a UFC vet and former champ. Dricus Du Plessis is currently a +250 underdog. It should be noted that these odds are subject to change, which is likely considering the fight isn’t until July. However, Whittaker will still be the favorite on fight day in all likelihood.
Should Whittaker defeat Du Plessis, his fight against Adesanya will be the third in a storied rivalry. As White mentioned, Adesanya has proven to be a formidable opponent to Whittaker, having beaten him twice in two separate title fights. Whittaker is no slouch, though, being one the most well-rounded fighters in the division. He is always a threat to unseat the king.
Where Whittaker is a seasoned veteran, Du Plessis is a rising star. The South African is a phenomenal striker and has quickly risen to legitimate contention in the middleweight division. A victory against Whittaker would go down as the most impressive win on his resume and solidify him as a championship contender.
Exactly when Adesanya will return to the octagon to take on the winner of Whittaker-Du Plessis is unknown as of now and probably won’t be revealed until after this fight takes place. Regardless, it will be one of the most anticipated fights of the year, with Adesanya looking to make the first defense of his new middleweight belt he took from Pereira in early April.
Speaking of that fight, Adesanya made headlines this week after announcing he tore his MCL less than two weeks before his rematch with Pereira. It clearly didn’t affect him much, as “The Last Stylebender” knocked out Pereira to retake the belt in the second round.
There’s no doubt UFC fans are pumped to see Adesanya take on the winner of Whittaker-Du Plessis. It will either be the third installment in a storied rivalry or the birth of a brand new opposition for the king of the middleweights.