UFC middleweight Sean Strickland may be jumping the gun just a tad ahead of his next match. While ‘Tarzan’ is a getting a main event spot against a rising prospect in Abusupiyan Magomedov, the 32-year-old also thinks he should earn a title shot against champion Israel Adesanya if he gets a win at UFC on ESPN 48 in July.
In an interview with My MMA News (transcribed by MMA Junkie), Strickland explained his unusual point of view. While he did win his last fight, when he beat Nassourdine Imavov, Tarzan also lost two in a row prior to it. However, one of them, to Jared Cannonier was a close affair, which left the Xtreme Couture fighter feeling as though he’d done enough to earn the nod. If it weren’t for those pesky judges, he could have been fighting Israel Adesanya already.
“If this fight goes my way, it 100 percent should be in the cards,” Strickland said. “I f-cking had a close decision with f-cking – what the f-ck was that guy’s name? Jared Cannonier, you knocked some brain cells out of me. Solid guy. Thought I won on the scorecards, but it is what it is. I truly believe I should be the one fighting Izzy, but I lost fair and square. I’ll pay my tenants. I’ll get some Ws, but yeah, that one needs to happen.”
Why is Strickland fighting this Magomedov guy anyway?
In fact, Sean Strickland believes he is so close to the title mix he is not sure why the UFC paired him up against a fighter with just one win in the promotion. Though Magomedov is a dangerous athlete, with an extensive record, Strickland made it clear that he should have been paired with someone closer to the belt, someone like Paulo Costa.
“It should have been me and Costa, for sure, hands down,” Strickland said. “I had no fights. They asked a couple top-10 guys. I’m not gonna say any names, but they all said no. So, the UFC gave me a choice, you sit on the bench for like six months until somebody opens up or you f-cking fight, and I said I want to fight. Let’s make some money.”
Catch Sean Strickland at UFC on ESPN 48 in July
Strickland (26-5) snapped a two-fight losing skid with his victory over Imavov back in January. His last two bouts before that were the aforementioned split decision loss to Cannonier and a knockout defeat to Alex Pereira, respectively in December and July of 2022.
Meanwhile, Abusupiyan Magomedov (25-4-1) made quite an impression in his Octagon debut, when he TKO’d Dustin Stoltzfus in just 19 seconds, in September 2022. The 32-year-old’s last loss dates back December 2018, when he got knocked out by Louis Taylor at Professional Fighters League.
Strickland is expected to face not Israel Adesanya, but Abusupiyan Magomedov at UFC on ESPN 48’s main event, at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas. The July 1 card has several other fights booked, but no official co-main event as of yet.
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