Sean Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) will defend the UFC middleweight title he won from Israel Adesanya against a worthy opponent.
The bout is scheduled to take place on January 20 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The challenger will be former mandatory challenger Dricus Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who was unable to meet up with Adesanya in the octagon following an injury from fighting former champion Robert Whittaker.
Du Plessis would have missed the opportunity to contend for the belt again if not for the fact that Khamzat Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) sustained an injured finger from beating Kamaru Usman recently.
Sean Strickland said in a YouTube video, ‘Dricus is like, so awkward, he’s good. Where it’s like, you know, I’m a million times better than him. I spar guys he’s fought, I know who he is. But he’s so awkward, he’s good.
‘It’s going to be a f*cking war. He’ll be a tougher fight than Chimaev. Chimaev, he doesn’t f*cking deserve it. We all know that. The only reason why Chimaev gets that shot is because he sells a lot of tickets. That’s it.’
Du Plessis has promised to make quick work of the champion on January 20.
‘One thing that I think is going to shock a lot of people is the way I go at this. From the very first second of this fight, I’m going to go like I always do,’ Du Plessis boasted at an interview. ‘The first opportunity I get, I will finish this fight. My honest prediction, there’s no way we’re going to championship rounds of this fight.’
‘I think people know it’s going to be an entertaining fight,’ Du Plessis went on to say. ‘I’ve had great performances, and I’ve had not so good performances in my career, in the UFC and out the UFC. There’s fights where even though I won, I wasn’t happy with my performance, and there were (losses) where I performed great.
‘But not one of those performances, good or bad, was not entertaining. I never had an unentertaining fight in my life, and with Sean Strickland, he’s had some fights where it wasn’t that entertaining. … But when you get me and you get Strickland, you get two guys that are not afraid to stand in there and bang. He doesn’t like to fight backwards, and I promise you I’m not fighting backwards.’
Strickland said he will expect a tough bout.
‘At the end of the day, man, I’m happy with Dricus,’ Strickland added in his video. ‘It’s going to be a hell of a fight, and I’m just happy the UFC is doing the right thing. He’s next in line. He f*cking deserves it.
‘They’ve been doing a lot of f*ckery lately with rankings and bullsh*t. Just f*cking wrong, man. We need to go back to a professional sport where rankings matter because, as of now, rankings mean f*ck-all sh*t.’
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