Israel Adesanya already has his sights set on his next opponent.
Adesanya became a two-time middleweight champion after a vicious second-round knockout win over Alex Pereira in the UFC 287 headliner Saturday night.
It put the official score at 3-1 to Pereira while in MMA alone, it’s all tied up at 1-1 with many observers believing the trilogy should be next.
However, Adesanya and UFC president Dana White feel differently. During their respective post-fight press conferences, the pair both mentioned the possibility of Pereira moving up to 205 pounds, essentially pouring cold water on the idea of a trilogy fight.
And “The Last Stylebender” already seems to have the wheels in motion for his next fight as he called out a certain Dricus Du Plessis without mentioning his name.
“Look. F**k, I don’t want to give no clout,” Adesanya said. “I wanna whoop his a** so bad. I want to do it in South Africa, or Nigeria, but he’s gotta do work. He’s gotta do something, show me something so I can whoop that a** so I can show you history. I’ll remind you. Because you gotta choose your words wisely when you speak on people that have come before you. People that have paved the way for you. You gotta pick your words wisely.
“… If he does work, and I pray to God, he keeps winning, I will gladly drag his carcass across South Africa. Wallahi.”
Dricus Du Plessis one fight away from a title shot?? 👀 pic.twitter.com/5KcbvenTTZ
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) April 9, 2023
It’s a surprising callout from a rankings perspective. Du Plessis is 5-0 in the UFC, but his most recent win was a knockout over Derek Brunson. Additionally, he’s still without a win over a top five opponent so like Adesanya stated, he still has some work to put in.
However, the reason why Israel Adesanya fosters so much animosity is for an interview Du Plessis — a South African — did leading up to UFC 285 where he questioned the validity of Adesanya and Kamaru Usman as African champions.
“Did those belts ever go to Africa?” Du Plessis said during UFC 285 media day. “As far as I know, they came to America and New Zealand. I’m going to take a belt to Africa. I’m the African fighting in the UFC. Myself and Cameron [Saaiman], we breathe African air.
“We wake up in Africa every day. We train in Africa, we’re Africa born, we’re Africa raised, we still reside in Africa, we train out of Africa. That’s an African champion, and that’s who I’ll be.”
The storyline is certainly set should that fight occur in the future.