Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) will challenge middleweight titleholder Sean Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) in the UFC 297 main event Jan. 20 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Chimaev’s (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) win over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 in October was dubbed as a No. 1 contender bout. So, if Du Plessis gets past Strickland, he expects unbeaten Chimaev to be next, and he welcomes that challenge.
“I think the UFC is probably going to want to do Khamzat,” Du Plessis said in an interview with My MMA News. “He’s a big draw and they said if he wins this fight against Usman that he will get a title shot. If that’s the fight, I would gladly as champion take out the boogeyman, it would be a massive pleasure. I think that’s probably what they want to be doing and we’ll will see if it plays out that way. For now, I have one target and that target is Sean Strickland.”
Du Plessis warns Chimaev that he won’t be able to rag doll his opponents at 185 pounds like he did welterweight. He vows to make the unbeaten rising star feel the difference if they fight.
“He’s going to try and take me down, and he should. I don’t think he realizes the power difference between 170 and 185,” Du Plessis said. “In terms of style, he tries to out-power everybody he fights because he wants to show how strong he is. If he fights me and fights that way, he’s going to find out what strength really feels like.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.