Dricus: Born champion


His name is Dricus du Plessis.

By now, every overseas mixed martial arts fan should already know how to pronounce it: It’s “Doo-ple-see, thank you very much“.

The 30-year-old star fights for the UFC middleweight title against Sean Strickland early on Sunday morning (move in front of the box from about 04:30, just to be safe).

And the American better be on his guard; he doesn’t know what we’ve known for a long time: Our Dricus is a born champion.

“If you are not hungry for success and not willing to work hard, you will always be second. And nobody knows who is the next best,” said Du Plessis in a previous interview.

Now my friend, if you talk about preparatory work, you will have to look for a long time to find someone who can hold a candle to Du Plessis. He is rightly considered the Springbok of the Ultimate Fighting Champion cage; someone who trains rock hard so that the big moment in the spotlight loses much of its punch.

According to the South African, there are similarities between him and Strickland; their unorthodox fighting styles make them unique.

“When you see him in action, he just looks weird – and the same is probably said about me. Two approaches which, admittedly, are vastly different from each other, but which are also unique.”

However, there is a piece of information that swings the scale in Du Plessis’ favor: He does not exactly need the help of combat officials to conclude a duel.

Aikôna, his fists and strength do the talking.

“When I hit you with a blow, you will smell harpoon. A win is a win in this sport, but I know that the outcome of my fights is not decided by anyone else; I’m in charge of things.”

Before Du Plessis stepped into the cage as a mixed martial artist, he was a very successful kickboxer. He was undefeated in 33 fights; moreover, he struck out his opponent 30 times. It was during this period when his brother came up with his sleeping pill nickname “Stillknocks” (a reference to the sleeping drug Stilnox).

And according to Dutch kickboxer and renowned trainer, Henri Hooft, the South African only gets better as his career progresses.

“He has more than enough power – he really only needs to hit you once. Normally someone is either an athlete or a fighter. Dricus possesses both qualities,” Hooft told ESPN.

The pen to rewrite the history books is firmly in Du Plessis’ hand. Or at least his fist.