Dana White addresses major issues on Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa fighting unranked opponents: “These guys are fighting tough guys”

UFC president Dana White addressed the concerns surrounding the matchups of Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa against unranked fighters.

Speaking at the post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 73, White was questioned about the decision to pair Strickland with Abus Magomedov and Costa with Ikram Aliskerov, both of whom are currently unranked middleweight contenders.

White acknowledged the criticism from MMA enthusiasts who questioned the logic behind these matchups.

However, he explained the choices made by the UFC matchmakers. According to White, the intention was not solely to freshen things up in the middleweight division, as suggested by the question, but rather to provide opportunities for the fighters involved.

Dana White reveals his thoughts 

The UFC president emphasized that it’s important to give fighters the chance to compete and showcase their skills, regardless of their ranking.

Strickland and Costa, despite their own ranking positions, have agreed to face unranked opponents to keep themselves active and maintain their momentum.

White further emphasized that the UFC aims to provide opportunities for fighters to prove themselves and climb up the rankings.

By matching Strickland and Costa against unranked opponents, the promotion is giving these fighters the chance to make a statement and potentially earn a higher spot in the division.

While the decision may have received criticism, White defended the UFC’s approach, emphasizing the importance of creating opportunities for all fighters and allowing them to demonstrate their abilities inside the Octagon.

“What we try to do is, obviously when you have a division, Costa hasn’t fought in a long time, you know what I mean? Strickland’s been fighting a lot, so yes, the answer is yes, we like to bring guys in and see where they’re at and see how they, obviously, the dude’s Paulo Costa is fighting is tough as nails, you don’t know how good some guys are until you get them in there into the top 15.”

Sean Strickland and his history with Israel Adesanya

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, coach Eric Nicksick of Xtreme Couture MMA shared his thoughts on the potential clash between Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya, highlighting their history of exchanging heated words and the excitement it generates.

Dana White

Nicksick expressed his understanding of Adesanya’s fighting style and acknowledged that a matchup between the middleweight champion and Strickland would be captivating. Reflecting on the potential fight, he stated:

“Surprisingly, Sean is very technical, and he’s very bright when it comes to the game. We’re really going to have to be on our Ps and Qs if we ever get that Israel fight and really understand it, because I have a pretty good idea of what Israel’s approach would be in attacking us, and you know we’re going to have to be on our Ps and Qs when we fight a guy like that.”

What are your thoughts regarding this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is a UFC/boxing journalist who connects combat sports to pop culture. His deep passion for the UFC started in 2018, triggered by the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor fight. He is a passionate writer who has a profound love for the sport and the skills that are used in it. Through his work, Sami aspires to connect combat sportsmen and their enthusiastic fans.


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