UFC Heavyweight compares NBA MVP Nikola Jokic & Sean Strickland: All they do is play

Former UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland is well-known for his participation in intense sparring regimen.

Strickland has carved a niche for himself in the world of MMA with his distinctive approach to training. Renowned for his sparring-heavy style, Strickland’s methods have garnered attention for their effectiveness in honing his skills and crafting a combat style.

Strickland’s training philosophy revolves around his love for combat sports, evident in his rigorous sparring sessions. However, his approach has proven to be a strategic advantage. By mastering the art of controlling matches without overexertion, Strickland has cultivated a style that is both awkward and challenging for opponents to counter.

Central to Strickland’s training regimen is his ability to spar frequently while maintaining adaptability to new styles. His unique stance enables him to spar with a diverse range of opponents, allowing him to swiftly adapt and evolve his techniques.

UFC heavyweight Austen Lane is a former professional football player. He has played with teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears before switching to mixed martial arts.

Lane has gained valuable insights from sparring with Strickland. His transition from football to MMA provided him with a fresh perspective on training methodologies.

In an interview with Jesse Rowe, Lane reflected on the parallels between Strickland’s approach and his experiences in football and other sports.

Lane drew parallels between Strickland’s training regimen and the approach of NBA star Nikola Jokić. Despite not fitting the traditional mold of an elite athlete, Jokić’s success in basketball is attributed to his specialized training methods. He has won the NBA MVP (most valuable player) award many times.

Similarly, Strickland’s focus on sparring mirrors the immersive style of training seen in European basketball. Players refine their skills through continuous gameplay rather than traditional drills.

Lane stated: “I asked him like you look at Jokić and he’s not athletic but like coming from a European system, how did he make it to where he’s at and how is he an MVP? And what he told me kind of opened my eyes a little bit it’s like, in the European style of basketball, they don’t necessarily believe in weightlifting. They don’t believe in like drills, all they do is play basketball.”

“They scrimmage, they play that non-stop and that’s the European style so then those guys come over here and they’re already polished, they’re already experienced because all they do is play basketball and that kind of reminds me of Sean [Strickland] a little bit where all Sean does really is just spar and he gets different looks and different styles.”

Lane emphasized the importance of finding a balance between rigorous training and injury prevention. While acknowledging the benefits of Strickland’s sparring-centric approach, Lane advocated for moderation to mitigate the risk of excessive damage. Incorporating MMA-specific training techniques such as light sparring and bag work, can enhance skill development while minimizing physical strain.

“Now in my opinion, you got kind of taper that because you can’t take too much damage in my eyes. Sean will tell you differently but in my eyes, you can’t take a lot of damage but you got to find way around that whether it’s sparring lightly, whether it’s hitting the mitts, hitting the bag so there’s ways around that but I think the more MMA specific stuff that you can do, the better.”