Sean Strickland replaced Dricus Du Plessis who was the original opponent for Israel Adesanya at UFC 290 as Du Plessis had to withdraw due to injury. The injury happened during his fight against Robert Whitaker at UFC 290.
The South African middleweight fighter wants a title shot against Sean Strickland next. In addition, he also gave opinions about what’s next for Strickland as a champion in his recent interview with Ariel Helwani on MMA Hour.
Du Plessis weighs in on Jared Cannonier as Strickland’s potential opponent
UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland is aiming for his title defense bout. A rematch with former champion Israel Adesanya is already a tempting prospect for many. However, Du Plessis argued that Adesanya should not earn a rematch after being thoroughly dominated for five rounds.
The winner of the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa bout at UFC 294 can also make a claim for a title shot. Du Plessis claims that Adesanya no longer holds an iron grip on the middleweight division. Jared Cannonier, who narrowly defeated Strickland in late 2022, is another compelling option.
Cannonier has already defeated Strickland by a split decision. Moreover, he was the backup fighter for the title fight at UFC 293. “Killa Gorilla” also has a loss against Adesanya in a title fight at UFC 276. Du Plessis also has the chance to be Sean Strickland’s first title defense.
The South African fighter’s victory over Robert Whitaker at UFC 290 guaranteed him a title shot, but the DDP injured his foot which prevented his presence at UFC 293. Furthermore, he could not get a visa to Australia to be cage-side for the middleweight title showdown.
Did Jared Cannonier ever fight Sean Strickland?
Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland fought in the main event of UFC Fight Night 216 in a bout that ended in a closely contested split-decision victory for Cannonier. However, Strickland vehemently opposed the decision.
The match predominantly revolved around striking with Cannonier landing more impactful shots that swayed the judges in his favor. The judges scorecards read 49-46, 46-49, and 49-46 in favor of Cannonier. In his post-fight interview with Paul Felder, Cannonier highlighted the visible damage on Strickland’s face as the determining factor in the closely contested bout.
Eric Nicksick took full responsibility for the loss. Nicksick further clarified that Cannonier was outsruck by Strickland but the optics favored the Alaskan native. Strickland used this loss as a motivating factor to achieve dominant victories over Abus Magomedov and Israel Adesanya in his most recent bouts.
Strickland winning the title has opened an easier pathway for Cannonier. He is anticipating for his second title shot in the aftermath of UFC 293. What do you think is next for Sean Strickland? Do You agree with Dricus Du Plessis’ statement? Comment below!