The middleweight division of the UFC has been on fire lately, and the latest news has sent shockwaves through the MMA community. Robert Whittaker, former UFC middleweight champion, is set to take on the rising star Dricus du Plessis, with the winner earning a shot at the current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya.
Robert Whittaker will face Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290 on July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to a post-Dana White made on social media on Friday. While the winner would face Adesanya for the next middleweight title opportunity, White also declared the bout to be a legitimate title contender. The announcement of multiple middleweight contests, including Vettori-Cannonier and Strickland-Magomedov among others, had been announced by White the day before.
“The winner of that fight will fight [Israel] Adesanya later this year, and that fight is targeted for Sydney, Australia,” White announced on social media.
Whittaker, who is presently rated #2 at middleweight, is 8-2 in his previous 10 fights. His only defeat, which cost him his championship, likewise came to Adesanya, but the second time it was via KO. The former middleweight champion of the UFC had significant victories against Yoel Romero twice, Jared Cannonier, Kelvin Gastelum, Darren Till, and Jacare Souza among others during his career.
At UFC 285, Dricus Du Plessis defeated Derek Brunson by second-round TKO increasing his record to 5-0 overall in the UFC. Even before that, he defeated Darren Till by submission at UFC 282 in December. The South African is ranked #6 at middleweight and has victories over Trevin Giles, Darren Till, Markus Perez, and Brad Tavares by knockout and decision, respectively.
The winner of this fight will face off against Adesanya, one of the most dominant champions in the UFC today. Adesanya has been on a tear in the middleweight division, with notable wins over Whittaker, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori. However, both Whittaker and du Plessis have what it takes to dethrone the champ, and a win over either fighter would be a huge accomplishment.
Overall, UFC 290 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting events of the year, with the Whittaker vs. du Plessis matchup being one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent memory. The middleweight division is stacked with talent, and this fight will go a long way in determining who will be the next challenger for Adesanya's title. Fans can expect a thrilling fight, with both fighters leaving it all in the octagon in their quest for UFC glory.