The populist charm of UFC champ Sean Strickland and his Hyundai

The new UFC middleweight champ has a message for young men and it explains why he's driving a Hyundai.

By: Nate Wilcox | 2 months ago
The populist charm of UFC champ Sean Strickland and his Hyundai

Sean Strickland is not into using cars as status symbols

New UFC middleweight champ Sean Strickland released his first interview since beating Israel Adesanya for the title on his YouTube channel and as we’ve come to expect from Sean Strickland, he’s not sticking to the standard Conor McGregor wannabe script.

“The reason why I drive like a Hyundai is one: I’m cheap, very cheap,” Strickland said. “But like the entire world makes you feel inadequate. Everything we do from what you wear to what you drive. You are born living in a commercial. When you’re a little infant and you’re watching TV, you are born looking at Audi and Mercedes commercials. When you hand in a kid a cell phone they are born and being brainwashed.”

“And, like I love America more than anything, but I do not recognize the world we live in,” Strickland said. “We are creating a generation of boys who judge their character by what they drive and what they wear. I don’t want to participate in making people feel like you are not enough. If you make, if you work an 8-hour job, if you do rebar, if you do electrical. I think that value of you is by how you act, by the kind of father you are. And it’s a damn shame. It’s a damn shame that we let corporations come in this country and we ruin the idea of what a man is.”

“So as long as I’m a champion you guys, for you, enjoy your oldcrocs, enjoy your old beat-up f**king Honda Civics, man. Just enjoy that ****.”

Sean Strickland is not a Conor McGregor style UFC champ

Strickland’s humility and disinterest in showing off material possessions is a sharp contrast to fast-fading UFC superstar Conor McGregor and his brand of conspicuous consumption. A few Instagram posts from the Notorious one will make the contrast clear.

Strickland is winning over some of his critics

Honestly, Strickland’s humility and economic consciousness is as welcome as it is surprising from a fighter whose world-view many conflate with UFC fighters like Colby Covington or Bryce Mitchell.

Our own Evan Zivin made the case against Strickland:

“There’s plenty that can be said about Sean Strickland, a lot of which isn’t good depending on where you’d get your cable news from if anyone still watched cable. The man has admitted to being a neo-Nazi growing up, to being raised in an abusive household and harboring a lot of hate for the world around him.

“He’s garnered criticism for the things that he has said, things that are both racist and sexist, and has shown no qualms about puffing his chest and finding ways to cause trouble if necessary to defend himself.

“He first garnered (negative) attention two years ago when he said he wanted to kill someone inside the cage. Not much has changed since then considering he said he wanted to kill someone just a couple of days ago, and again on the post-fight press conference. No wonder Jack Hermansson referred to him as a loose cannon. That almost seems to be putting it mildly.”

But Strickland’s statements since winning the title have won over some former critics like Bloody Elbow’s Chris Rini who expressed his surprise at Strickland’s UFC 293 post-fight speech not long ago:

“UFC 293 was an evening rife with post-fight interviews that were confrontational and littered with profanity and slurs, but somehow Sean Strickland was one of the more endearing figures on the mic. Was that even more remarkable than his fight? I think so, because this is a man who has trained most of his life for violence, not self-awareness.”

It will be interesting to see how Strickland’s journey progresses.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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