It seems as though Sean Strickland was handed a gift. The no. 5 ranked UFC middleweight is coming off a dominant TKO victory over relative UFC newcomer Abus Magomedov back in July, his second straight victory, but hardly the kind of high profile win that would seem to have the Xtreme Couture talent primed for title contention.
However, Adesanya’s continued dominance atop the middleweight division (following a brief bump in the road against Alex Pereira) and Dricus Du Plessis’ apparent inability to be ready for a title fight by September, have left the UFC with no clear top contender other than Strickland. An opportunity he seems primed to take advantage of.
Sean Strickland says manager working to finalize Adesanya fight
Just a couple weeks back, Sean Strickland spoke to MMA reporter Helen Yee about the opportunity to fight for a UFC title. At the time, he made it abundantly clear, that the only thing standing in the way of him taking the bout was money. As long as the UFC was willing to pay, he’d be there.
“Pay me money and I’ll f—king fight him for an hour straight,” Strickland quipped. “Or at least until somebody wakes up or goes to sleep.”
In a more recent interview with media personality Dave Schmulenson (better known as ‘The Schmo’) Strickland gave fans an update on his potential title fight. Starting, of course, with some patented weirdly nationalistic aggression.
“You guys—that little Chinese slut—we’re trying to make it happen,” Strickland explained. “I’m trying to represent for America. I’m trying to represent for Australia. Because, I’ll tell you what Australians, I am more Australian than f—king Izzy. Izzy is a Chinese man. I ride motorcycles, I sail boats, I like sex with hot women.
“Izzy likes sex with dudes. Nothing wrong with that Izzy, it’s personal preference, I’m sure Schmo might be into it. But, I am American, but I’m like Crocodile Dundee, you guys. I carry guns on me, I carry knives. I consider myself an honorary Australian. I mean, I’m a little bit more in the freedom department. I like freedom. You know, you guys are a little questionable there. But, I would like to say that I’m more of an Australian than the Chinese man, Izzy.”
As for how the actual negotiations with the UFC are going? Strickland had a lot less bluster to deliver on that front.
“Guys, we’re working it,” Strickland said, when pressed on the fight. “My [manager] continues over there—he’s out here—we’re working it. We are working it. We’re trying, I’m trying to do it for you guys, we’re trying to make it happen for you guys. And then, once the fight happens, all I gotta do is fight Izzy—which, you know, that’s the easy part, right? Getting the fight is the hard part. Winning the fight’s the easy part.”
Sean Strickland reveals he’s never seen Adesanya fight
While Strickland was no doubt being extremely sarcastic when suggesting that the easy part of getting to fight Adesanya would be beating the man, he had a surprising answer when asked just how he planned to go about finding victory over the ‘Last Stylebender’. Notably that he hadn’t ever really paid much attention to the champ.
“I’ve never really actually watched an Izzy fight. I’ve watched clips of it. I don’t know Schmo, you’ve watched a lot of fighting, what do I gotta do?”
The 32-year-old former King of the Cage title holder went on to admit that he had actually seen one Adesanya fight before, the City Kickboxing star’s war with Kelvin Gastelum. For the moment, that seems to be the only point of reference Strickland is using for his potential gameplan.
“I need to fight like Kelvin,” Strickland revealed. “I need to go d—k to d—k, nose to nose, and I need to have a war. Maybe we takedown, maybe we don’t.”
“I need to be a little bit more on the aggressive side. You know, there’s some times when I’m out there doing my—what’s that girls name? They always make fun of me—that Disney Channel girl? Carly or something?… So, I need to be a little bit tighter, a little bit more up in the pocket. We’re gonna make magic happen, you guys.”
Israel Adesanya still seems stuck on Du Plessis
While it seems like Adesanya is likely headed for a clash with Strickland in Sydney on September 10th in the main event of UFC 293, the Nigerian-born New Zealander still seems like he’s got his sights firmly set on his ongoing war of words with top contender Dricus Du Plessis. Following UFC 290, the two men engaged in a heated staredown with Adesanya making several racially motivated remarks towards Du Plessis, in response to the South African’s ongoing sentiments that he is “the African fighter in the UFC.”
In a recent segment on the Halfcast Podcast run by City Kickboxing teammates Tyson Pedro and Kai Kara-France, the former kickboxing star talked about his face off with Du Plessis and why he felt ‘Stillknocks’ ended up turning down the chance to face him at UFC 293.
“Now he doesn’t want to fight,” Adesanya explained (transcript via MMA Junkie). “Even after, he’s like ‘Oh bro, all you had to do was put some gloves on, we could have got it on right there.’ B—ch ass, f—k you wouldn’t have because guess what? He didn’t want it. When I told him feel me, people were like, ‘Oh, he’s so classy walking away. He’s so classy.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, he didn’t even walk away. He felt me. He didn’t want to feel me. He’s not a scared man – he’s a tough dude. He’s very crafty, and he’s got a good team behind him – smart team.
“I don’t think he’s a scared man, but I’ll tell you he’s scared of me. You know when you look in someone’s eyes, you just know straight away. He didn’t call me into the cage, I stepped in the cage myself. I didn’t even see him call me … I stepped into the cage because I made this s—t happen. This motherf—ker – I hope … I really was hoping he’d f—king step up. But he’s a b—ch, and I’ll tell you right now: Keep training. Keep training. I’ve got something for your ass, so keep training.”
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