Contracts have not been signed but the bout is expected to be finalized shortly, sources told ESPN. UFC 285 is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, and a main event has yet to be announced.
In addition to agreeing to the matchup against Brunson, Du Plessis (18-2) has signed a new multifight deal, his management, Ruby Sports and Entertainment, told ESPN. The South African middleweight is 4-0 since signing with the UFC, with three finishes.
He won by submission vs. Darren Till at UFC 282 earlier this month.
Brunson (23-8) was scheduled to face Jack Hermansson several weeks ago in Orlando, but he had to withdraw because of an arm injury. He told ESPN at that time that he anticipated a quick return and made it clear he wanted to face a top-ranked opponent.
Brunson also recently stated on social media that he hopes to fight four times in 2023.
Brunson and Du Plessis are ranked No. 5 and No. 10, respectively, among middleweights by ESPN.