Israel Adesanya confirms UFC 305 fight with Dricus Du Plessis after months of speculation

Israel Adesanya confirmed on Monday that he will challenge Dricus Du Plessis for the middleweight title at UFC 305, after months of speculation.

Adesanya and Du Plessis faced off in the cage last July, after the latter earned a shock TKO win over Robert Whittaker, but the route to a fight between the pair has not been straightforward.

Adesanya, who held the title at the time, went on to drop the belt to Sean Strickland in September. That result, a decision win for Strickland, was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Then, in January, South Africa’s Du Plessis dethroned the American with a decision win, completing his bid to become – in his own words – “the first real African champion” in the UFC.

Those words previously angered Adesanya, who – like former champions Kamaru Usman and Francis Ngannou – was born in Africa, thus the heated nature of his face-off with Du Plessis last summer.

Du Plessis, however, clarified that his goal was to become the first UFC champion not only to be born in Africa but also to live and train there. Adesanya resides in New Zealand, Usman lives in the US, and Ngannou had French citizenship when he won the UFC heavyweight title.

It was unclear whether Du Plessis’s first title defence would come against Strickland or Adesanya, but the American instead fought and beat Paulo Costa this month, ruling him out of an August bout with Du Plessis.

And August was seemingly always the target for Du Plessis’ first title defence, as he prepares to compete in Australia on 17 August. With that in mind, Adesanya will return to the country where he won the belt in 2019, and where he lost it to Strickland in September.

“The SUN of Africa is the same sun that lights up our planet,” tweeted the former two-time champion on Monday (17 June), alongside a seemingly fan-made poster advertising his fight with Du Plessis. “The SUN will set and will rise again until you walk into it. The SUN, enjoy while it shines. Darkness falls when it’s gone.”

UFC 305 is scheduled to take place at the RAC Arena in Perth. Although the UFC is yet to officially announce any fights for the event, CEO Dana White laughed after hearing about Adesanya’s post and confirmed the match-up is now official.

“Apparently he already announced his own fight,” White said on The Jim Rome Show. “He’s fighting in Perth. Du Plessis. 17 August in Perth. Now it’s official. He didn’t tell us. I saw that he had announced it. There it is. It’s true.”