South African MMA star Dricus du Plessis has recently made headlines for his controversial comments regarding former African-born champions Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya, and Kamaru Usman.
Du Plessis has raised questions about the authenticity of them calling themselves Africans, claiming that their belts never went to Africa.
As an African, Du Plessis believes that winning the belt would make him the first true African champion. He and his teammate Cameron Saaiman were born and raised in Africa, and they breathe African air. They train in Africa, and they still reside there. For Du Plessis, that is what it means to be an African champion, and that is what he aims to become.
Du Plessis’ comments have sparked mixed reactions from the MMA community, with some UFC stars accusing him of racism and erasing the achievements of other Africans.
Nigerian-American featherweight Sodiq Yusuff shared a video of Du Plessis, saying that it was “like starring in a mirror.”
Another Twitter user accused Yusuff of being racist, but he denied the claim and defended his stance, calling out Du Plessis’ attempt to rewrite African history.
Former UFC ‘star’ Mike Jackson also criticized Du Plessis, saying that his comments reek of white fragility.
However, some UFC fans have come to Du Plessis’ defense, saying that he has a valid point and that he and Saaiman are more African than Ngannou and Adesanya combined.
For them, being African is not just about the color of one’s skin but also about one’s cultural heritage and upbringing.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding his comments, Du Plessis is focused on his path to the middleweight title. His recent victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 285 was the biggest win of his career, and it has propelled him to the top 10 of the division. Du Plessis believes that his results in the Octagon speak for themselves and that he is deserving of a title shot.