This weekend, Sean Strickland is getting his first, and possibly only, shot at UFC glory as he takes on incumbent champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 293. With the middleweight title on the line, Strickland looks to over-perform from expectations and claim an unlikely capturing of the UFC middleweight title.
Sean Strickland: An unlikely rise
Sean Strickland doesn’t look like a fighter. He doesn’t even fight like a fighter a lot of the time. But one thing he consistently does is win fights some see he shouldn’t. That’s carried him through some of the best in the middleweight division and granted him the title shot at UFC 293.
Since his move to middleweight in 2020, Strickland has fought reasonably well. He’s gone 7-2 since then and saw a five fight win streak upon moving up in weight. “Tarzan” beat the likes of Jack Marshman, Brendan Allen, Krzysztof Jokto, Uriah Hall and Jack Hermansson.
He then ran into Alex Pereira who handed him his first loss at 185. He didn’t rebound as gracefully as he’d liked to and dropped a close split decision to Jared Cannonier in his next fight and seemed like his title hopes were done before they got started.
But Sean Strickland did rebound. After the Cannonier fight, Strickland managed to beat Nassourdine Imavov via decision and his most recent performance, a second round knockout of Abus Magomedov, as a career best performance.
Now, with the biggest moment of his career, Strickland has a tall order ahead. Adesanya is more diverse. He’s the faster fighter. He’s the more experienced fighter. The only thing that Strickland has over Israel Adesanya is, surprisingly, his personality. But words don’t really win fights. And as Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” It will be up to Strickland to punch Adesanya in the mouth at UFC 293.
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