Following the fifth round of the UFC 297 main event bout between Dricus Du Plessis (21-2) and Sean Strickland (28-6), Joe Rogan seemed caught off guard when the South African’s hand was raised in the end.
Du Plessis snatched the UFC middleweight title away from the brash American with a razor-thin split decision following an absolute war. This was Strickland’s first attempt at defending the belt since out-pointing Israel Adesanya last September at UFC 293, and while he was able to inflict considerable damage to his opponent, Du Pleassis battled back right to the end.
While Rogan was not in attendance for UFC 297 in Toronto, he did host a fight companion show on his Spotify channel alongside former UFC heavyweight Brenden Schaub, comedian Joey Diaz, and owner of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Eddie Bravo.
Joe Rogan Reacts to UFC 297 Decision. 👀 pic.twitter.com/Ti66BQNKUP
— Lock-In MMA (@LockInMMA) January 21, 2024
“Wow, interesting, very interesting,” Rogan said on his “JRE Fight Companion.” “I wonder how the people online feel about that because we’re not scoring it while we’re watching it, we’re just having fun. Were we wrong?… Listen, fourth round, he (Du Plessis) did awesome. How about him vs. Khamzat (Chimaev), UFC 300?”
While the decision has brought forth mixed results across the board, many agree it was a close fight, in which the kicks to the body from Du Plessis could have easily outweighed the piston like jab from Strickland, or vice versa. Regardless, the hope for a middleweight title match to occur at UFC 300 may be a far cry from reality given the nature of the damage inflicted in Saturday’s bout and the quick turn around time between now and April.
“I definitely think (Du Plessis) won the fourth, but do you think he won the fifth? I don’t know, man,” Rogan said. “The fifth seemed like it was Sean was landing more shots.”
Following the match, speculation for Du Plessis’ next opponent immediately began. The newly crowned champion called out Israel Adesanya, but Rogan thinks that if Adesanya is not ready to come back, then a rematch with Strickland may be in order. Because of the close decision and mixed opinions of who truly won the fight, the rematch between the pair has already generated a great deal of interest.
“Why not? If Adesanya can’t make it, listen, that’s a good fight,” Rogan said. “A rematch? That’s a good fight. That’s a very quick turnaround for either one of these guys, though. If you have a split decision loss, that is one of the best indications that it was a close fight. The kind of fights you want to see a rematch on are the ones that are close fights. If Izzy can’t, that as a rematch is very compelling.”
UFC 297 Joe Rogan Experience Fight Companion Full Episode