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Dricus Du Plessis never considered pressing charges against Sean Strickland: ‘I would even take the blame’

TORONTO – Not even for one moment did Dricus Du Plessis consider pressing charges on Sean Strickland following a UFC 296 in-crowd attack.

“I know Dana came to me and said, ‘Listen, this is the case. We’re really sorry about this,'” Du Plessis told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “Obviously, the police had him and charges can be pressed because that’s assault. It’s outside of a professional arena. They didn’t try to convince me otherwise at all. They literally said, ‘If you feel like that was uncalled for, we completely understand if you want to press charges and take this further.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no. Please no.’ We are two fighters. It was a good old scrap like we did before we became professionals. I just paused and was like, ‘I would even take the blame if that’s possible, just to make sure that nothing happens to him.’

“We know to come to Canada, they are very strict. They are very, very strict in getting into the country. I just wanted to make sure that if the fight wasn’t in jeopardy. I never even think of Sean Strickland trying to get away. He’s the type of guy who’s always game. He’s a guy who will go out on his shield and do it with honor.”

If anything, the attack increased Du Plessis’ respect for his UFC 297 opponent. Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) carries no hard feelings into the Jan. 20 title shot vs. Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC).

“I took on his manliness. I was in his face,” Du Plessis said. “I told him, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ He stood up for himself. That’s what a real man does. I’m happy for him. I’m glad he has that in him. No matter what the situation, what the repercussions, he didn’t think about it. He said, ‘I’m standing up for myself,’ and rightfully so. That’s where the respect comes from because that’s exactly what I would’ve done.”

The altercation occurred a month before their UFC 297 fight week even began. With more promotional events scheduled in the days ahead, Du Plessis doesn’t intend for things to get out of hand again.

It’s strictly business from here on out. The only task in his view is a title win.

“I hope it’s over now, but there’s not going to be one-ups,” Du Plessis said. “There are no one-ups. What’s going to happen, is going to happen. We’ll see how it plays out, but right now my focus is on the fight. I’m not here to be funny. I’m not here to try and create something that there’s not. I’m here to be the next champion of the world. That’s why I’m here. I’m not going to be here to try to one-up or get even further. I’m going to do what I’m going to do and he’s going to do what he’s going to do. But right now, it’s almost senseless to try to create more hype.

“The hype has been created. That took care of itself. Right now, for me, this is business. The whole fight week is business. Everything I handle, I’ll handle it like business. Saturday night, I’ll be signing on the dotted line, closing the deal.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie