An MMA coach recently revealed some interesting information regarding the UFC middleweight champion, Sean Strickland. It appears that Strickland, fresh off his impressive victory over Israel Adesanya, is already considering his next opponent, and the choices are generating quite a buzz in the MMA community.
Sean Strickland’s journey to the middleweight title was nothing short of remarkable. At UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, Strickland faced the highly skilled Israel Adesanya, and many doubted his chances. However, Strickland defied the odds by displaying exceptional skills over five rounds. He even managed to knock Adesanya down with a powerful right hand, following it up with a series of devastating head punches while maintaining control of Adesanya’s back. In the end, Strickland secured a unanimous decision victory, earning him the UFC middleweight championship.
With his newfound title, the question now arises: who will Strickland choose for his first title defense? While many anticipated a rematch with Adesanya, the former champion has expressed his intention to take a break from competition, a decision that many understand.
This leaves Strickland with several options among the top contenders in the middleweight division. Given that he just fought in September, the bout is likely to be scheduled for early next year. However, MMA coach Aldric Cassata recently shared a rumor that Strickland is actively seeking an opponent for a December match.
According to Cassata, Strickland’s camp received a phone call offering several names as potential opponents, including the rising star Khamzat Chimaev. However, Strickland reportedly turned down the opportunity to face Chimaev and opted for another opponent, whose identity Cassata has chosen not to disclose.
While the chosen fighter remains unknown, it’s likely that they will come from the pool of top contenders in the middleweight division. Dricus du Plessis, currently ranked second, was initially scheduled to face Adesanya for the belt before an injury forced his withdrawal. If he is medically cleared, du Plessis appears to be the most suitable candidate.
Another option could be Robert Whittaker, ranked third, although he is coming off a loss in his previous bout against du Plessis. Paulo Costa, ranked sixth, is also a viable choice. He recently underwent elbow surgery and is on the road to recovery, expressing his eagerness to compete as soon as possible.
It’s essential to note that the information provided by Cassata is based on a rumor and has not been officially confirmed by Strickland or the UFC. However, it has undoubtedly sparked curiosity and speculation among MMA enthusiasts, eager to see who Strickland will face in his first title defense.