Eric Nicksick had a feeling Sean Strickland would dethrone Israel Adesanya.
Heading into UFC 293, most people didn’t believe Strickland could defeat Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title. After five rounds of action, the 32-year-old silenced the doubters by securing a unanimous decision win.
Meanwhile, Strickland’s coach never lost faith in the new middleweight king. During an interview on Unlocking the Cage, Nicksick had this to say about believing his fighter could take out Adesanya:
“It was the most calm I’ve ever been going into a fight of this magnitude. I had this feeling all freaking week that we’re just gonna disrupt the apple cart. It was just, it was in the making. It was so weird. Honestly, I was living in the moment. I had such a good time watching Sean.”
“His style, people just don’t really understand it until you get in there with him and spar with him or fight him. It’s just the way he approaches the game, and it’s different. The term we used all camp was calculated chaos. And that was the style he came after him with. We made sure we stayed disciplined, but when we were in there, make it disruptive.”
Eric Nicksick, the head coach and gym manager of Xtreme Couture, was a significant factor in Sean Strickland’s shocking win on September 9. Nicksick’s ability to develop and execute his game plans has solidified him as one of the best MMA coaches on the planet.
"I had this feeling all freaking week, that we're just gonna disrupt the apple cart. It was just, it was in the making."@Eric_XCMMA discusses the 'calculated chaos' style that helped Sean Strickland win the MW title at #UFC293
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) September 11, 2023
Eric Nicksick utilized strategies with Sean Strickland that he learned when Brad Tavares fought Israel Adesanya
Eric Nicksick had experience coaching one of his fighters against Israel Adesanya before working with Sean Strickland at UFC 293. In July 2018, Nicksick worked with Brad Tavares for a five-round non-title matchup against Adesanya, with the latter winning by unanimous decision.
During the same interview on Unleashing the Cage, Nicksick had this to say about using his experience with Tavares to benefit Strickland:
“Having to go against Izzy once with Brad Tavares, it helped me a lot in kind understanding where we messed up and the areas we could have been better at.”
The combination of Nicksick’s coaching and Strickland’s execution led to one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. It’ll be intriguing to see if they have to do it again, as Dana White revealed he’s interested in giving Adesanya an immediate rematch.