Rugby World Cup 2023 winners Willie Le Roux, Retshegofaditswe “Ox” Nche and Jesse Kriel “weet wat hulle weet nie”! They all sent a message of encouragement and luck to Dricus du Plessis ahead of his Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title fight against the defending champion Sean Strickland at UFC 297: Strickland vs. Du Plessis on January 20 in Ontario, Canada.
“Hulle weet nie wat is weet nie!” This is the message that Jesse Kriel had for Dricus du Plessis ahead of the biggest night of his mixed martial arts career.
Kriel was joined by fellow Springboks Willie Le Roux and Retshegofaditswe “Ox” Nche in wishing Du Plessis well for his Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title fight against the defending champion Sean Strickland. The contest will headline UFC 297: Strickland vs. Du Plessis at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, 20 January. The video message was accompanied by the moving patriotic song “Ons Vir Jou Suid-Afrika” sung by the legendary and appropriately named Bok van Blerk.
Du Plessis was spotted in the VIP section of the Stade de France in Paris during the 2023 Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand excitedly cheering the team on. He even interacted with other special guests including actor Jason Momoa, director Taika Waititi and tennis great Novak Djokovic, sharing cold beers as the tension heated up on the field of play.
“Stillknocks” has enjoyed an impressive MMA career to this point, having won and defended the Extreme Fighting Championship welterweight and middleweight titles. He made his debut in the UFC in October 2020, winning all six of his fights in that time.
He earned the right to take a shot at the UFC middleweight belt after defeating Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 on 08 July 2023. Infamously, then-champion Israel Adesanya confronted him in the hexagon after the fight, setting up the possibility of the two having a go at each other before Strickland scuppered this by defeating the Nigerian-New Zealander at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia.
UFC 297 FIGHT CARD
Sean Strickland vs Dricus du Plessis (title fight)
Raquel Pennington vs Mayra Bueno Silva (title fight)
Neil Magny vs Mike Malott
Arnold Allen vs Movsar Evloev
Brad Katona vs Garrett Armfield
Chris Curtis vs Marc-Andre Barriault
Charles Jourdain vs Sean Woodson
Gilliab Robertson vs Polyana Viana
Malcolm Gordon vs Jimmy Flick
Serhiy Sidey vs Ramon Taveras
Yohan Lainesse vs Sam Patterson
Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Priscila Cachoeira