Dricus du Plessis was set to face Ireland’s Henry Fadipe in the Welterweight Title fight at EFC 59 on Saturday 13th May. Unable to travel, Fadipe had to step out of the fight last minute. Brazil’s Jose da Rocha has stepped in to take the fight.
We caught up with the champ to talk about his preparation, the world of MMA and his thoughts on the upcoming fight night.
Full name: Dricus du Plessis
Fight record: 9-1
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When was your first fight and what was the outcome?
My first fight style was Judo. I had my first fight at the age of 5 and I’m not 100% sure what the outcome was, I just know I was in love with martial arts ever since.
How many fights did you have under your belt as an amateur before turning pro and joining the EFC?
I had 33 k-1 Kickboxing fights of which I won all of them, 30 of them by KO/TKO. I also had the Pro/Am SA K1 title and was also the Junior WAKO K1 world champion in 2012. I had 3 amateur MMA fights before I went professional.
What does the world of MMA mean to you?
I love MMA, I love the lifestyle and everything that comes with it. It’s all about what you put in, you’ll get out. There are so many life lessons you learn in MMA.
When not preparing for a fight, what do you like to do with your time?
I’m also a coach so I’m always busy with fighting one way or another. I’m definitely an adrenaline junkie so anything that gets the hart pumping has my attention.
What does the average day in the life of Dricus consist of?
I wake up at around 06:30, some days go for a jog other days I just stretch a little then I’m at my gym (TeamCIT MMA) from 09:30 warming up for our first session at 10:30. After that I go home, shower, eat etc. Back at the gym around 16:00 for our second session with our head coach, Morne Visser, till 19:00 then I coach most days from 19:00 to 20:00. Then I head home for a nice meal and some much anticipated sleep.
If you could choose to fight any international welterweight fighter, who would it be and why?
I think a guy like Robbie Lawler will be someone I would love to fight. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to with a very aggressive style, just like mine. I think it will make for one hell of a fight.
Who do you think are the biggest threats in the EFC Welterweight division?
I don’t see any threats, just targets.
Where would you like to see the sport of MMA Take you?
Becoming the Greatest MMA athlete the world has ever seen!
What’s your take and feelings on Fadipe not making the fight?
Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised, I called it from day one. This was his last shot, never again will I accept a fight against him.
How much do you know about Da Rocha?
Not much, nothing at all actually but that’s what the game is all about. Improvise, adapt and overcome. I’m ready for whoever steps in there with me on 13 May.
Give us some insight into the preparation for your upcoming fight against Da Rocha?
I train for this fight just like any other. I make sure I’m fitter and more prepared than my opponent. I know I have heart and I know I have the BMT to put it all together on the night.
Which part of the training/ preparation process do you enjoy the most?
My favorite part of training has to be sparring, it’s where you see everything come together. Punching a bag or pads is easy but when you land something often in sparring you know it’s going to land in the fight. You also learn to push yourself to the ultimate with intense sparring sessions.
When it comes to the weight cut, how does your body react and how easy/difficult is it for you to make weight?
Making weight is never easy, it’s a long process that requires a whole lot of discipline and is really the one part of fighting that no fighter likes. But, it’s part of your job and it’s your responsibility as a professional to make weight. Luckily for me I have a team of professional people around me who knows exactly how to cut weight safe and properly.
What goes on behind the scenes that most people don’t realize?
The lights, fans cheering and everything everyone sees is such a small and pretty part of the game. Our sport is nothing like that, there’s nothing pretty about it. It breaks people and if you don’t watch out you’ll be broken mentally and physically quickly.
What goes through your mind when stepping into the hexagon?
The only thought is “it’s go time”. All the hard work is done now and it’s time to have fun and show these people what I’m made of.
Any words for Da Rocha ahead of your fight?
The day you put your feet on SA soil to come and take my belt will be one of the worst decisions you’ll ever make. Take that as a friendly warning.