du Plessis believes Israel Adesanya is not fully focused on UFC’s return

du Plessis believes Israel Adesanya is not fully focused on UFC’s return

 UFC middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis feels Israel Adesanya’s motivations to return to the Octagon are misguided.

Du Plessis and Adesanya will clash in the UFC 305 main event on August 17 in Perth, Australia. The highly anticipated clash marks the return of Adesanya for the first time since losing to Sean Strickland at UFC 293 last year.

Du Plessis and Adesanya’s checkered past came to the forefront during their intense faceoff at the UFC 305 press conference this week. The two middleweight greats traded verbal jabs and had arguably the longest face-to-face staredown in UFC history.

Despite the intensity of the first pre-fight press conference, du Plessis feels Adesanya lacks confidence in his decision to return to fighting.

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, du Plessis reflected on his first pre-fight face-to-face with Adesanya.

“His demeanor around this whole fight, this man is trying to convince himself that he still wants to be here,” Du Plessis said. “In saying that, he has done so much for the sport. ‘It’s not about titles anymore’…he’ll never get what he had again. There’s not enough time, and he’s already done what he did in this sport in terms of legacy. He’s talking about so much outside of the sport, instead of inside the sport…I think this is him trying to convince himself that he still wants to do this, that he still has what it takes…

“I’m here just to show him that he’s not. Enjoy your golf, I’m the new champion and I’m the new king of this division, and I’m gonna make sure he knows that.”

Du Plessis captured the UFC middleweight title by defeating Strickland at UFC 297 earlier this year. He’s won nine consecutive fights, including finishes of Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson.

Before the loss to Strickland, Adesanya recaptured the UFC middleweight title by knocking out Alex Pereira at UFC 287. He’s looking to reassert himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters.

Du Plessis vs. Adesanya is one of the biggest fights of the year, and the heat is starting to build as fight night approaches.

A UFC middleweight clash between rising contenders Michel Pereira and Anthony Hernandez is reportedly in the works for UFC 306.