Undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has revealed he previously sparred with arch-rival, Dricus du Plessis years ago – claiming that when it came to striking exchanges between the two, he “messed up” the South African.
Adesanya, the current and two-time undisputed middleweight champion, most recently headlined UFC 287 back in April of this year, successfully reclaiming the divisional crown with a stunning second round KO win over Alex Pereira in the pair’s UFC rematch.
As for du Plessis, the Pethora native most recently improved to 6-0 since his transition to the UFC back in 2020, securing a second round corner’s stoppage TKO win over common-opponent, Derek Brunson at UFC 285 in March.
Slated to return in an official middleweight title-eliminator at UFC 290 in July during Interational Fight Week, du Plessis will take on former middleweight champion and soon-to-be common-foe, Robert Whittaker – with the victor poised to fight Adesanya for gold later this year.
Israel Adesanya reveals prior sparring session with Dricus du Plessis
Making his feelings on a potential clash with du Plessis known, Adesanya claims he bested the former during striking exchanges in a prior sparring session.
“So, you know what’s funny? What’s funny to me – I remember this, we actually sparred,” Israel Adesanya said during an appearance on IMPAULSIVE. “We actually sparred. Hey, sparring is sparring. Alsjo you know what, I’m coming from China. I was doing kickboxing over there, I had no MMA, nothing. I was just kickboxing. I had MMA already, but it wasn’t sharp. It was blunt. My Jiu-Jitsu was blunt, very blunt.”
“So, we’re sparring – I don’t know if we did two rounds or one, it’s so long ago as well,” Israel Adesanya explained. “This is 2014, so, long ago. I remember like on the grappling he had me. But on striking, I just messed him up.” (Transcribed by MMA News)