Adesanya reveals Du Plessis rivalry fueled by an old sparring session: He had me in grappling, In striking I messed him up

Israel Adesanya has set his sights on facing Dricus du Plessis, the talented South African middleweight contender. The rivalry between the two ignited earlier this year when du Plessis proclaimed himself as the only authentic African star in the UFC, sparking Adesanya’s ire.

In a recent appearance on the Impaulsive podcast, Adesanya expressed his desire to take on du Plessis, indicating his eagerness for a fierce showdown.

Adesanya shared that he and du Plessis had crossed paths back in 2014 during a training camp in Thailand. During their sparring sessions, du Plessis showcased his grappling prowess while Adesanya demonstrated his superior striking skills.

Adesanya humorously recalled, , “We actually sparred. I’m coming from China, I was doing kickboxing. I had had MMA [experience] but it was blunt. My jiu-jitsu was blunt. So, we were sparring. [..] On the grappling he had me. But on the striking, I just messed him up.”.

This encounter laid the foundation for their competitive history and created anticipation for a potential future clash.

While Adesanya has already triumphed over Robert Whittaker in two previous matchups, he acknowledges that he has bigger challenges to conquer. Despite his success against Whittaker, Adesanya expressed his focus on du Plessis as his next target. With his sights set on this South African, Adesanya aims to continue showcasing his exceptional skills and assert his dominance in the middleweight division.

As du Plessis prepares for his upcoming bout against Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, he shared his thoughts on both Whittaker and Adesanya. Du Plessis believes that Whittaker presents a tougher challenge compared to Adesanya, acknowledging the Australian’s formidable skill set.

While there may be a perceived blueprint for defeating Adesanya, du Plessis recognizes the difficulty of implementing it due to Adesanya’s exceptional abilities.

“With Whittaker, the path to victory is not that simple. You have to catch him… or to outwork him is hard, to make him tired is hard, to get him to quit is nearly impossible. So, I think Whittaker [is] the harder fight, while Adesanya [is] a lot more technical.” Dricus told Submission Radio.