- Sean Strickland did not expect Alex Pereira to beat Israel Adesanya in their middleweight title fight at UFC 281 and believes Adesanya will beat Pereira in a rematch
- Strickland suggested Robert Whittaker as the rightful top contender next
Top-ranked UFC middleweight Sean Strickland is coming off a loss to reigning 185-pound champion Pereira in July at UFC 276. Pereira secured the first-round finish with a vicious left hook knockout to earn the title shot and hand Strickland his first defeat in the weight class.
Sean Strickland believes Israel Adesanya will defeat Alex Pereira in a rematch
In a recent interview with Helen Yee, Strickland shared his thoughts on Pereira’s title win over Adesanya at UFC 281 this past weekend in New York. He argued Pereira’s reign at the top would not last long due to his grappling deficiencies.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen. Here’s the thing, it’s always what if, you knocked me out, hats off, a big f*cking scary Brazilian making a lot of money. If I were to have went out there and just f**king not been a prideful f**k and wrestled, could I have probably won? Yeah.
“The moment like a Whittaker or Marvin, or anybody just goes in there and tries to f**king wrestle, he’ll win. He won’t be a champion for long but he’s a f**king savage.”
Strickland believes Adesanya should have won the outing and backed him to beat Pereira in a potential rematch.
“Here’s the thing, if I was a f**king monster, a giant with that big a wingspan, I would have very easily touched up Alex. But I’m not. I’m a short pudgy white man who is very unathletic with short little baby arms who’s having to get past that reach. I thought Izzy being a long lanky motherf**ker that likes to dance around was going to win. There’s a good chance Izzy wins the next fight but I don’t think he should get the shot.”
Strickland wants Robert Whittaker to get the next title shot
According to Strickland, former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker deserves the next title shot. But first, Whittaker will need to dispatch former title challenger Paulo Costa at UFC 284 in February.
“I would like to see Whittaker. Whittaker is probably going to beat Costa and he should get the next title fight.”
Sean Strickland is set to face Jared Cannonier in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 216 on Dec. 17 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.