UFC’s Themba Gorimbo had a great weekend.
Dricus du Plessis recently made headlines for his comments about Israel Adesanya and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. The South African claimed that he would be the first authentic African UFC champion since he trains there.
Du Plessis contrasted himself with Adesanya and Usman, who were born in Nigeria but grew up in New Zealand and the United States, respectively.
These remarks sparked controversy and drew strong reactions from fellow UFC stars and the MMA community.
Themba Gorimbo, a Zimbabwean UFC star and du Plessis’ former training partner, shared his perspective on the matter. In an interview with MMA Mania, Gorimbo criticized du Plessis for his comments and clarified that there are many African stars who identify with their African heritage.
“What Dricus said was wrong. Firstly, at that point in time when the interview was done, he was not the only African fighter who breaths and smells African air or wake up in African sun with African address. I was in Africa too and we train 30 minutes away from each other.”
“Izzy is the guy that any African kid looks up to who does MMA. Most African kids, including me…. I look up to Izzy. [Only] few look up to Dricus, which is great. We can get inspired by him but not a lot of kids look up to him to be honest. Because you know what…. the suffering is different.”
Gorimbo argued that du Plessis’ claim of being the only genuine African was misguided and inaccurate. He emphasized that stars like Israel Adesanya are role models for African kids and have inspired countless aspiring athletes on the continent.
Gorimbo acknowledged that while du Plessis may serve as an inspiration for some, the level of influence and recognition he commands is not comparable to Adesanya’s.
Furthermore, Gorimbo expressed his disagreement with du Plessis’ attempt to backtrack on his statements by claiming they were misunderstood. He believed that du Plessis should take responsibility for his words and the impact they had on the MMA community.
Meanwhile, another prominent UFC fighter, Alex Pereira, shared his thoughts on a potential clash between Adesanya and du Plessis. Pereira, who recently faced Adesanya and lost, believes that du Plessis would not stand a chance against the reigning middleweight champion.
“[Dricus Du Plessis] is a fighter who at the end of the first round was very tired. So how will a guy like that fight [for] five rounds against [Whittaker]. If he wins, it would be Adesanya [next]. I think [it’s] impossible… Let’s talk about it Du Plessis wins [against Whittaker]. I think it will be a massacre. Adesanya knows it. He wants to make history. He wants to make an easy fight.”
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.