Will the UFC 297 main event go the distance? Dricus Du Plessis says ‘there’s no way’

TORONTO – Dricus Du Plessis knows his reputation as an easy-to-wear-down fighter still proceeds him, even in the aftermath of what could turn out to be a career-changing nose surgery.

While some viewers may doubt his abilities to go deep into a five-round fight, Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) thinks he possesses the gas tank of a champion – not that he’ll necessarily need it vs. Sean Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) at UFC 297.

“If this is a Sean Strickland fight of punching really, really, really soft and jab, jab, jab, if that’s the case – which it won’t be (because) I won’t allow it – then I’ll be there in the fifth round making sure I win this fight by decision,” Du Plessis told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “That’s what it takes to become the world champion. But in my honest opinion, this fight is not going the distance. There’s no way. He’s a guy who walks forward. I’m a guy who likes to go forward. I’ve said this and this is one thing. This is the fight game.

“Anything can always happen, but I can promise you this. I’ve never been involved in a boring fight in my life and I promise you I won’t because a boring fight is a choice. I know it’s not going to be boring. This is going to be one of those fights. If he can stay standing, if he can take what I give, this is a Fight of the Year contender, 100 percent.”

Du Plessis erased some of the doubt when he pummeled Robert Whittaker for a TKO victory at UFC 290 in July. But the shadow of one UFC performance earlier in his career still haunts him.

“I have one decision in my whole career, and that’s Brad Tavares,” Du Plessis said. “In that fight, we came to a situation where the fight basically, if you look at the punches thrown in that fight, just the punch count, look at that fight again. You’ll see what I’m made of. You look at a guy like Brad Tavares, who is truly one of the most durable guys in the world. When he got to that third round, he definitely won the first round. I won the second. In the third round, the commentators were saying, ‘Dricus is tired. He’s really tired.’

“It doesn’t matter how tired I am. I’m going to do what I need to do to win the fight. … This is the end of Dricus not as a champion. That ends next week, Saturday.”

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

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie