World champion Dricus du Plessis receives hero’s welcome

Newly-crowned UFC middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis was warmly received upon his arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday.

A multitude of enthusiastic South African mixed martial arts fans joyously welcomed their champion home following his split-decision victory over America’s Sean Strickland last Sunday.

Despite the visible signs of battle bruises, du Plessis proudly hoisted his championship belt with the national flag, before proceeding to a bustling press conference, wherein he reflected on his journey to the world title.

”Yeah, I mean I envisioned it from the age of 15/16 years old. I’ve  always had this moment in my mind, not just that I think it might happen – I believed it 100% that this will happen and here we are today,” said du Plessis.

“But, you can envision and visualise this as much as you want but it just doesn’t get to the real feeling. Sitting here is the proudest moment of my life, it means the absolute world.”

The 30-year-old fighter shared his flurry of thoughts during the closely contested match, with much at stake as the judges deliberate on the final outcome. He will now take some time to contemplate his significant success and savour the championship moment with friends and family before determining his next course of action.

”When do I start my training again, I don’t know, right now I’m winning in competitions. Yah right now  there’s a time to sit back and enjoy the  hard work, the fruits of your labour, it’s a very important part – you can’t just keep on going,” he added.

“I asked God to help me through every fight, I prayed and I asked to give me the power, give me the strength to get through this, to get to a fight without getting injured – to go out there and fight the best fight that I possibly can, to get that strength from somewhere. Then afterwards I give my body a chance to rest, and right now I’m in South Africa, I’m with my people and I want to enjoy this title – up until the next one then we get back to work,” he concluded.

(story credit: SABC Sport)

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