Dricus du Plessis claims Sean Strickland admitted defeat at UFC 297: ‘You definitely beat me’
Dricus du Plessis claims Sean Strickland admitted he lost their title bout.
Earlier this month, du Plessis claimed the middleweight title with a split decision win over Strickland at UFC 297. In the cage immediately afterwards, both men were complimentary of one another, with Strickland giving du Plessis credit for the win and asking for a rematch. But shortly afterwards, Strickland changed his tune, claiming that an illegal headbutt cut him open and that he was robbed. But du Plessis says that’s not what Strickland told him in the cage.
“I chatted to him afterwards,” du Plessis said on SuperSport Unplugged. “But then I saw his Tweet saying that — I understand calling for a rematch in the sense that you get the public behind. Saying, ‘Oh, you know you didn’t win that fight.’ He came to me in the cage — I think this is the first time publicly I’ll say this — he came to me in the cage right before they announced me as the new champion. I went to him and I shook his hand, and I said, ‘You’re a warrior, well done, was a great fight,’ and he said, ‘No, you definitely beat me.’ He said to me, ‘You deserve it, you won that fight, you beat me.’ I said, ‘I also think so. I have to agree with you on that.’
“After I won the fight. You could see in his face, he knew. When the ref held our hands, he knew he wasn’t winning that fight. Then, of course, he talks about the headbutt, which is not true. I remember the exact punch I caught him with that caused the bleeding.”
Du Plessis and Strickland had an intense build-up to the fight, with nasty words exchanged at press conferences and a cageside brawl at UFC 296. However, on fight week the two appeared to bury the hatchet. Despite the controversy surrounding the decision, that still seems to be true as du Plessis claims Strickland also gave him props behind the scenes, before his social media callouts happened.
“Afterwards, when we were in the doctor’s rooms, he came to me and said, ‘You’re a warrior. I wouldn’t have wanted to lose to anybody else, because you deserve this,’” du Plessis revealed. “But then he goes on Twitter and says, ‘You will never be a champion,’ or something along those lines. Just the way he said it. To ask for a rematch is one thing. But I have to say, I have nothing against the guy. From what I’ve experienced, I think he’s an emotional guy, but I don’t think he’s a bad dude.”
Despite the controversy, an immediate rematch appears unlikely. Instead, du Plessis hopes to defend his newly won title against Israel Adesanya at UFC 300, which takes place on April 13 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.