Eric Nicksick, the head coach of Sean Strickland, confirms they turned down a short-notice fight against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294.
Chimaev was supposed to fight Paulo Costa in Abu Dhabi, but less than two weeks out from the fight, the Brazilian was pulled from the scrap due to an elbow infection. After that happened, the UFC reportedly called Strickland to see if he would want to defend his middleweight title on short notice.
However, according to Nicksick, he didn’t like the idea of that, as did Strickland so they turned it down.
Nicksick confirms Sean Strickland turned down Khamzat Chimaev’s fight
“From my understanding they did. They just threw it out there to see if he would be available. When Sean had asked me, to be honest, I was the one that kind of said no,” Eric Nicksick said to ESPN about Sean Strickland. “I was like bro, I can’t be there like we can go out there, but it didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever as a champion to take a short notice fight against a killer. Sean can fight anybody on any day’s notice, we know that he has done it in the past. But, why is it our responsibility to go put our title on the line on short notice when we already did them a solid by fighting Izzy on five-and-a-half weeks’ notice?
“The guy came out of that relatively unscathed but he did have an infection on his foot, so it didn’t sound right, didn’t feel right, felt like a trap, felt like a big trap. I told him no, I don’t like the idea of if but if he wants to, I’m in. He said, no, you know what bro, I’m glad you said no because that was my feelings to, I don’t think there is a reason to push it,” Nicksick continued.
As Nicksick says, as the champ there was no reason for Sean Strickland to defend his belt on less than two weeks’ notice. However, Eric Nicksick says he thinks Khamzat Chimaev will be next anyway.