Dricus Du Plessis: Sean spoke to me personally and said that I deserved to win

Although many resented the decision of the judges, the new champion revealed to us that Strickland also praised him on two occasions and said that he is a warrior

by Sededin Dedovic
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Dricus Du Plessis: Sean spoke to me personally and said that I deserved to win
© Gallo Images / getty Images

Something almost no one expected happened at UFC 297, Dricus Du Plessis seized the opportunity of a lifetime by dethroning Sean Strickland and winning the middleweight title. The hotly contested battle left fans divided over the verdict, with some labeling it a "stealing".

The fight was great, quite aggressive and open, and both fighters received major injuries, however what caught everyone's eye was the amount of damage on the face of the new champion. Speaking recently during an interview with SuperSport, Du Plessis shed light on a surprising admission from Strickland himself after the fight.

Contrary to public outcry and Strickland's calls for a rematch, Du Plessis revealed that his opponent had privately acknowledged the meritorious nature of Du Plessis' victory. "While we were still in the cage, he came up to me before the winner was announced and told me that I definitely beat him.

He told me that I deserved it because I was better and beat him. He himself was aware that he would not. win that fight," Du Plessis shared. The surprising discovery continued after the fight when both fighters found themselves in the infirmary.

Du Plessis recounted Strickland's words of respect and admiration, saying: "After it was over, he came up to me when we were in the infirmary and told me I was a warrior and he didn't want to lose to anyone else. He told me again that I deserve all this." Despite Strickland's admission, Dana White, the president of the UFC, announced that there would be no immediate rematch, leaving the vacant spot for the next challenger to the newly crowned champion.

While Israel Adesanya is emerging as a prominent name, the UFC has yet to confirm the next contender. Middleweight has never been more competitive and interesting. The controversy surrounding the outcome of the Du Plessis-Strickland duel only increased the popularity of the middleweight division. Since there won't be a rematch right away, the question remains who will be the next challenger for Dricus?

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