Strickland Almost Blew His Title Shot, Du Plessis And Cannonier Call Out The Champ

November 15, 2023
4 months

Sean Strickland’s biggest achievement of his career in beating Israel Adesanya to claim the UFC middleweight title was almost derailed before it ever happened. 

The American shocked the world to beat Adesanya via a unanimous decision in Australia at UFC 293. But before the fight happened, Strickland was involved in an altercation with a fan that could have prevented the fight from happening.

It is alleged that during an encounter, a fan continued to engage in trash talk with Strickland who did not take it too well. That resulted in the latter responding with a strike, as things could have gotten out of hand. However, Strickland’s coach Eric Nicksick admitted that had it not been for the authorities, who knows what could have happened. 

Strickland’s Problem

“I thought we were gonna get pulled, I really did. They went to the beach and Sean basically incriminates himself during the fight week presser: ‘Yeah, this guy came up to me, talking trash, I punched him in his belly’. And apparently, the Australian government heard this, got word of this, and it went downhill from there. It got to the point where they were flying John Crouch out from Arizona from MMA Lab to come out and corner Jared Cannonier. When I heard that…I was like ‘Bro, we’re off, they’re gonna pull us off this card,” Nicksick said 

The rest was history as Strickland walked away victorious. However, moving forward, Strickland could find himself facing Adesanya in a rematch. White entertained the idea that a rematch could happen.

Meanwhile, Dricus Du Plessis has also entertained the idea of facing Strickland now that the latter has acquired the belt. Prior to Strickland’s win, Du Plessis had been linked with a fight with Adesanya. However, his foot injury no longer made that possible as Strickland stepped in. And now Du Plessis has marked the American as an opponent. 

Du Plessis On Strickland

“Myself and [Strickland] had the biggest upsets of 2023 and I am undoubtedly the No. 1 contender, so let’s settle this like men whenever, wherever. After that, I’ll give [Adesanya] his well-deserved hiding on my home soil South Africa. That being said, don’t want to beat the amateur that fought on Saturday night. I want to beat the best [Adesanya] so take some time and get your s*** together,” Du Plessis.

Nevertheless, those plans could change depending on where Strickland goes next. A rematch against Adesanya is likely to generate more money. Meanwhile, facing Du Plessis would make sense from a legacy point of view.

After all, the latter is the number-one contender in the division. And if he were to beat the South African, Strickland would have cleaned up the best in the weight class. And yet, Jared Cannonier has called out the new champion.

The pair last fought in 2022 as Cannonier emerged victorious, so a rematch could work with a belt on the line.

Cannonier Calls Out The Champion

“I beat the champ and got two checks to prove it. He wasn’t walking me down screaming in my face either. Nobody does that to me. The only other [middleweight] to beat him has ascended. He fought him differently than he fought me as well. On top of that he said it himself that he “fought like a b****” so here’s your chance to redeem your man card [Sean Strickland], let’s actually do the man dance brother,” Cannonier

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