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By David Tees on 1/27/2024 3:33 PM

Dricus Du Plessis defeated Sean Strickland by split decision in the main event of UFC 297 to capture the UFC Middleweight Championship.

While some have claimed that the victory was a controversial one, Du Plessis doesn’t think so because he says that Strickland admitted defeated after their fight.

“I chatted to him afterwards,” Du Plessis said on SuperSport Unplugged (transcript via Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “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.”

There has been no announcement yet by the UFC as to whom Du Plessis will make his first title defense against yet, but Strickland may be on the short list of potential opponents.

Du Plessis also says he has no hard feelings towards Strickland for some of the things the former champion said after their encounter.

“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.”