EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DRICUS DU PLESSIS!
Firstly, congratulations on becoming the youngest EFC Champion in the history of the promotion. How does it feel?
Thank you very much. It feels absolutely amazing, I can’t describe this feeling with words. Setting a goal and working so hard and then reaching it means and the world to me. Now it’s on to the next goal and bigger things.
How long has it taken you to get where you are now? What sacrifices have you made?
I honestly feel I’ve been preparing myself for greatness my whole life. I never knew in what form the greatness will come, but everything I do I strive to be the absolute best. I hate losing and that’s why I am able to do what it takes to be a champion. Yes, I had to sacrifice a lot of things to get to where I am, like missing family events, birthdays, weddings, parties and just basically living the life of a normal student. But I prefer to live my life as a champion and it’s all been worth it at the end of the day. Luckily, I have a lot of great people like my family, friends, girlfriend, my team and my coaches who support me no matter what.
A lot of fans, including myself were surprised by Martins unexpected immediate takedown attempt in the first round. Were you surprised?
Yes, to be honest I was surprised by how he approached the fight at first, but as the fight progressed I realised exactly what was going on. Garreth McLellan was the main corner man for Martin and since he was the only one to ever beat me they wanted to use the exact same game plan that he used to beat me. But unfortunately, I’m not 19 years old anymore and I’ve learned from my mistakes and I was ready for everything they threw at me.
To beat an EFC veteran like Martin is an incredible achievement. Is there anyone in the EFC you would like to fight next?
It was an absolute honour to fight a legend of the sport like Martin and I really don’t care who I fight next, preferably experienced guys like Dino, Martin etc. I love big fights and I like to fight experienced guys as they’ve been tested time and again and I feel they can test me and prepare me to be the best for when I fight for UFC gold.
Just to go back a bit, how did you get into MMA?
I started Judo at the age of 5 and practiced for 5 years. Then I went over to wrestling for 2 years and then at the age of 15 I had my first K-1 fight and at 17 I had my first MMA bout. I have a lot of experience in K-1 and after winning the K-1 World Championships in 2012 at the of 18, I knew I wanted to make a career out of fighting. I wanted to be the most complete fighter the world has ever seen and what better way to do that than in MMA.
What does your family/parents think of their son being an MMA fighter?
In the beginning they thought it was a phase I was going through (ha-ha) but they’ve always supported me 100%. It’s a bit harder for my mother but she likes it. I’m sure my dad is super proud of me and he is definitely my biggest supporter and also my biggest critic as he just wants to see me succeed and follow my dreams. He is also the one who taught me that when you do something you do it to be the best of your abilities or rather don’t do it at all. To be the best you have to outwork the best!
What’s your favourite strike/submission to use in a fight?
I can’t really say I prefer certain strikes or submissions but I love techniques that can finish the fight the quickest.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I would have to say my dad along with my 2 older brothers. I just want to make them proud as they raised me to be the champion I am today! Then looking from a fighter’s perspective, I’d have to say my teammates Leon Mynhardt and Michiel Opperman, along with my coach Morne Visser who got me where I am today and I will always look up to them and see them as my mentors.
What does your training regiment look like leading up to a fight?
My training in fight camp will have around 2 or 3 sessions every day Monday to Saturday. The sessions will change daily from long distance cycling to under water swimming, then strength and conditioning at the Yard and then wrestling and grappling with our coach Atilla Barna and striking and putting everything together with my head coach Morne Visser.
How did you get the name, ‘Still Knocks’?
As a K-1 fighter I had 33 sanctioned fights and I won 30 of them by KO/TKO and my brother Neil came up with the name Still Knocks since it is a sleeping pill.
Have you ever thought of leaving SA and going overseas to train and fight?
I often go and train overseas and I love it. I like to learn from different MMA athletes from all over the world but I will always miss my team CIT and I wouldn’t really want to train anywhere permanently without them. But fighting in the UFC is my next step and that’s the goal I’m setting my mind to, and then ultimately becoming the greatest fighter that ever lived.
Any final words/shoutouts?
A big shoutout to my friends, family, team and my coaches for always being there for me and also my sponsors Q4 Fuel, ABE Midas, Bad Boy, Bonec Lubrications, Kotze Gearbox & Diff, GNC Supplements, GST and Grab & Go and then the fans! Thank you for all your support and all the noise. It makes it so much easier to put it all on the line for you guys!
It has been an absolute pleasure chatting with you Dricus! With hard work, a positive attitude and a mindset like yours, you are definitely destined for greatness.
See you in the UFC brother!