LAS VEGAS – Dricus Du Plessis fulfilled one promise after his last outing, and has laid out another goal of becoming a middleweight title challenger by the end of next year.
In his second appearance of 2022, Du Plessis (18-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) took on former welterweight title challenger Darren Till on the main card of UFC 282 at T-Mobile Arena.
Du Plessis dominated the opening round, earning two 10-8 scores from the official judges. Although the referee asked Till multiple times to fight back or defend himself, Du Plessis was unable to get the finish. In the second round, Till (18-5 MMA, 6-5-1 UFC) bounced back, almost as if nothing went wrong in the first five minutes. However, Du Plessis got a second wind in the final round, and locked up a submission after securing a takedown to cap off the Fight of the Night.
Although he acknowledged he was slower in the second round, Du Plessis credited Till’s abilities inside the cage.
“I think Darren proved he’s an incredible fighter, but I do believe if he wants to make any run at being successful, he needs to fight at welterweight,” Du Plessis said. “Honestly felt that tonight. I’m not hating on Darren Till at all, I have all the respect in the world, but he is not strong enough or big enough to fight at middleweight.”
While Till may be too small for the division, according to Du Plessis, having his name on the resume carries weight that could land the South African in a big fight the next time he steps into the cage.
“I just got a proper stamp in a Fight of the Night, in the top 10 of the division,” Du Plessis said. “I said in my last fight that I will be in the top 10 before the end of the year. Here I am, and I’m telling you guys now, I’ll be a title contender by the end of 2023.”
In order to accomplish that goal, Du Plessis is targeting a return in March, with plans on fighting three or four times next year to ensure he reaches the top of the division.
Check out Du Plessis’ full post-fight press conference in the video above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 282.
Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie