Newly crowned middleweight champion Sean Strickland is known for his outspoken nature, regardless of how insensitive or controversial his statements may come across.
In a recent Twitter tirade, Strickland targeted the NFL’s first transgender cheerleader Justine Lindsay. He made a transphobic comment ridiculing football fans, stating:
“When your buddy says ‘I f****d a[n] NFL cheerleader,’ now we all can say [is], ‘how was he’. NFL fans just come to the UFC none of our girls have d***s.”
Lindsay is a member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading squad. Despite Strickland’s comments, Lindsay views her role in the NFL as an achievement comparable to that of a doctor or a nurse.
In a recent interview with Elle magazine, the 31-year-old shared what this achievement means to her:
“I want to change the narrative for my trans sisters and brothers, just to [let them] know that if you have a goal, go for it. Turn that dream into a reality. Be an NFL cheerleader, or a doctor, or a nurse, or whatever you set your mind to… Everything that I’m going through now, it’s bigger than me… I’m setting things up for the younger generation. No one is going to stop this show.”
Despite his polarizing social media presence, Strickland is experiencing a surge in his MMA career. At the recently concluded UFC 293, he secured a unanimous decision victory over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Even though Strickland and Colby Covington are two of the most outspoken competitors in the UFC, Covington harbors no fondness for the current middleweight champion.
In a recent interview with MMA reporter James Lynch, Covington described Strickland as obnoxious and belligerent. Furthermore, Covington hinted at the possibility of challenging Strickland for the 185-pound title.
He stated: “He is outspoken in the most obnoxious manner, just belligerent. It just opens the door for all the middleweight because that’s the easiest guy in the division to beat. Honestly, it opens up the door for me, I might go up and beat his a**. That guy is a f*****g punk… I might go up to middleweight and steal that middleweight strap. Champ-champ.”