Both men were in the arena as Leon Edwards defended his welterweight title against Colby Covington. There is much anticipation ahead of their January 20th 2024, clash as Strickland defends his middleweight title for the first time. The American secured the belt with a unanimous decision win over Israel Adesanya.
The rivalry boiled over as Strickland and Du Plessis traded blows. The footage shows Strickland going through the crowd before he hits Du Plessis. Security diffused the situation by escorting Strickland out of the arena, after which the UFC middleweight champion responded on social media.
I go hard on everyone I know this, izzy mouth feeding his dog, Dricus kissing his coach and grabbing his cup. Omally talking about sharing his wife in a podcast.
You're a man, on a world stage doing this in public
And what do you pick?
"You got abused as a kid ha"
— Sean Strickland (@SStricklandMMA) December 17, 2023
Du Plessis refused to get shaken up by the incident. The South African responded by outlining how the altercation showed he had gotten into Strickland’s head. The fighter hoped this would give him an edge in their upcoming fight.
“The fact that he’s triggered only plays to my advantage. I can’t believe how easy it was to mentally trigger him. I thought, here’s Sean Strickland, he’s just bashing everybody, ranting about everything and everybody. One little sentence and the man loses his mind. Shows you how easily mentally he’ll be broken,” Du Plessis stated
Both men were near each other, raising criticism over the seating arrangements. In hindsight, an altercation was inevitable. Question marks arose over who was responsible for the seating. Dana White held his hands up and took full responsibility for the mistake.
— bjpenndotcom (@bjpenndotcom) December 17, 2023
“What kind of an a**hole sits Strickland next to Du Plessis? This a**hole [Dana pointed at himself], that’s who. I do every seating assignments every week. How f****ing stupid is that? I mean, seriously. Well, I don’t know what humans you can sit Strickland next to, but definitely not Du Plessis. I don’t even know how I missed that,” White stated