UFC middleweight Sean Strickland is trying a new thing. It’s called not giving an f.
In the latest of a series of profane pre-fight interviews, Strickland let the expletives fly as he playfully roasted his job, his opponent Uriah Hall, and the youth of America at a media day for his UFC Vegas 33 headliner on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Strickland drew recent headlines for a sparring session that got a little out of hand and a blunt comparison of UFC fighters to prostitutes. The UFC middleweight touched on those topics and a lot, lot more, grinning widely as he took aim at one subject or another.
A word that’s part of the normal lexicon in Australia or the U.K. but considered extremely offensive in the U.S., Strickland professed his warm affection for using. His whole interview was NSFW.
Whether you’re seeing this Strickland for the first time or you’ve followed him for his 13-year-career, he said it’s taken a lot of work to get to this place. Specifically, he’s hired a mental coach that helped him take some of the pressure off for one of the most high-pressure careers you can have in this world.
By learning to embrace defeat, Strickland said he’s gotten a lot more wins in the octagon. Along the way, he’s opened up and let the world know what he really thinks, and the byproduct is a refreshingly honest, often charming, frequently crass guy who shoots from the hip, public opinion de damned.
A small sampling of Strickland’s stylings:
On fighting in a main event: “It’ll be special if I win. If I get knocked out, I’m going to look back like, ‘F*ck, this sucked.’”
On doing pre-fight media days: “It’s just fake. No one gives a f*ck about you. You’re only special when you’re winning. If I lose, I’m going to wake up Sunday and you guys aren’t going to give a f*ck about me. You guys don’t give a f*ck.”
On former training partner Hall: “Uriah’s kind of a c*nt, man. I like Uriah, so I’ll say that. But here’s the difference between me and Uriah. I’ll spar you and say, ‘Listen man, I’ve got a fight coming up, you’re probably going to bleed, I’m going to try to f*ck you up, I’m going to try to hurt you, I’m going to try to take your soul from you.’ And they’re like, ‘Thanks for telling me.’ Uriah’s the kind of guy that says, ‘Hey best friend, let’s go watch anime after this. We’re really good f*cking friends.’ Next thing you know, spinning back f*cking heel kick to the face. Me and him are a little different. Uriah’s the hidden psychopath. ... Uriah’s the kind of guy that will f*cking knock you out and be like, ‘Are you OK?’ Then go beat his f*cking dick off to it before bed.”
On being nominated for “Comeback of the Year” at the World MMA Awards 2021: “If I win it, do I get paid? [Reporter: “You get to make a speech.”] Ah, f*ck, then no, I don’t want to win it. I’d give the worst speech. You never want me to be on that.”
On making young people more tough: “Don’t stay in school. Go do drugs, go f*ck up, go to jail, get arrested. Maybe we just need a war. Like maybe North Korea or China, that might fix everybody. That’s the problem. We’ve had too many easy wars. We need a good one. We need like a Vietnam to harden everybody back up.”
For doing something that meant nothing, Strickland seemed to be enjoying himself quite a bit. The really important thing, he said, was showing up on fight day and keeping his hands up against one of the most talented and unpredictable strikers in the UFC. The two trained together, and if you can’t tell, Hall made an impression. Maybe not the most flattering one, but one nonetheless.
“He’s a gatekeeper,” Strickland said of Hall. “And I don’t want to undersell Uriah to say gatekeeper, but he’s a damn good gatekeeper. He’s a guy you beat and it propels you one or two away from a title shot. It’s a very interesting thing to think that it’s within your grasp.”
But that’s just a thought, if Strickland is doing this whole thing right. When you start to suck is when you start to care too much about doing well, protecting your career and keeping your job. When you win four in a row, get main events and even get nominated for awards, that’s when you’re just being you – in the cage or out.
“We’re all just f*cking hairless monkeys going through the world,” he said. “We shouldn’t take ourselves too serious.”
Check out Strickland’s full interview below, courtesy of The Mac Life.