Sean Strickland is currently the middleweight champion. It was reported recently reported that he was offered the short-notice match against Khamzat Chimaev.
The much-anticipated middleweight co-main event featuring Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa was abruptly shelved due to unforeseen surgery complications on the Brazilian contender’s end.
However, the UFC swiftly mobilized a solution. They drafted in the former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as Chimaev’s eleventh-hour replacement.
Recent reports from esteemed combat sports journalist Marc Raimondi shed light on the initial offer extended to Strickland. The proposal was to put his freshly acquired 185-pound championship on the line.
Sean Strickland did not take up the offer as his monumental title clash against Israel Adesanya transpired merely a month ago at UFC 293.
The UFC’s proposition to pit Sean Strickland against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 incited a whirlwind of fan reactions. Fans expressed their surprise on various platforms.
Some of the comments were as follows:
“Offering a champion a short notice fight is crazy lol”
“He fought a month and a half ago, can’t blame him”
“Shows how they really dont want Sean Strickland as champ.”
“You don’t ask a guy who just got the belt to defend on 2 weeks notice and fly across the world when the challenger has been there for over a month”
“UFC really not trying to invest into making Sean a star…Crazy how quick they pump and dump their fighters at times”
UFC CEO Dana White had previously affirmed that the victor in the bout between Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev would secure the next shot at the middleweight title.
In light of this, it seems like Sean Strickland will be a keen observer of the showdown. However, the division’s champion anticipates Chimaev’s dominance over Usman.
Strickland stated that Usman primarily accepted the bout for financial gain, not as a strategic move within the middleweight division.
During a recent episode of his podcast alongside Chris Curtis on YouTube, Strickland elaborated:
“So, here’s the thing, Usman’s not on a camp, Usman hasn’t been bulking up to middleweight. Usman took this fight for a paycheck. They said, ‘Hey Usman, here’s probably a couple million, you want to take this fight? We’ll give it to you. Usman said I can’t say no, I’m going to do it.’ It’s a win-win for Usman.”
He further emphasized: “So, I think it doesn’t really count because you have Chimaev who has been training his a** off, who has been bulking up for middleweight and then you have Usman who’s been like, I’m going to take this to get a paycheck.”