Strickland rematch and Chimaev promise – Four possible opponents for Dricus Du Plessis after UFC 297

Hunter Haas
Dricus du Plessis has all eyes on him as the new UFC middleweight champion

Following a controversial victory over Sean Strickland, new UFC middleweight champion Dricus Du Plessis has several contenders angling for a title fight.

The South African fighter squeaked out a split decision victory at UFC 297, the closest contest of his UFC career. However, some analysts, such as commentator Joe Rogan, were surprised when the judges revealed their scorecards.

Strickland’s own coach praised how du Plessis handled himself throughout the build-up to the fight. But, as you might imagine, he saw the outcome differently.

Regardless of feelings, the fight is over, and it is time for both sides to move on. Or is it?

Four potential matchups for Dricus du Plessis

No. 1: Sean Strickland

It’s customary that a fighter receives a rematch after dropping a title, but it is especially true when the margin of victory is so razor-thin.

Strickland and du Plessis should run it back and put all doubt to bed. The former came within one judge’s decision away from ending the latter’s undefeated streak in the UFC.

No. 2: Israel Adesanya

These two are no strangers to one another, as Du Plessis has sent jabs at Adesanya outside the octagon for years. The current middleweight champ claims he’s a more “authentic” African. He even called out Adesanya following the win against Strickland.

Izzy gave props to Du Plessis for pulling out the victory, even agreeing with the split decision. But Adesanya made it a point to mention that he’s still coming for the belt. Sooner or later.

No. 3: Khamzat Chimaev

No one wants a title fight more than Khamzat Chimaev. He’s been lobbying for such a matchup on the historic UFC 300 card in April. Could Du Plessis be the opponent?

Chimaev has not lost in his MMA career, with recent wins over Kamaru Usman and Kevin Holland. There’s no doubt the Russian brawler deserves a chance soon. But he might have to wait.

No. 4: Winner of UFC 298 Co-Main Event

Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa will square off in February in the co-main event at UFC 298. Whittaker, in particular, has some history with du Plessis, as the Aussie was upset at UFC 290 by the then-rising star.

For Costa, this marks his first fight since Aug. 2022, back when he defeated Luke Rockhold via unanimous decision. Dana White may want to see more from Costa before offering a title fight, but an impressive victory next month could sway the UFC CEO.

If Whittaker wins, it’s an easy sell for fans. But expect the first three names to take precedence.

About The Author

Hunter Haas is the Senior Sports Writer at Dexerto. Over the last two years he has worked as a writer and editor for FanSided at NFLMocks. He also served as an editor at The Raider Ramble and The Blue Stable. Hunter is an expert in all things MMA, WWE, and NFL. You can email him here: