Sean Strickland got the job done in the UFC Vegas 47 main event. But he knows that a split decision win over Jack Hermansson was far from his best performance.
Despite controlling the majority of the fight, sticking behind his jab and avoiding virtually all of Hermansson’s offensive advances, Strickland explained why he just never went for the kill over five rounds.
“I let the pressure get the better of me,” Strickland revealed at the UFC Vegas 47 post-fight press conference. “I knew I was better than him. You guys knew I was better than him. He was a guy that I maybe not finished, but he should have been more bloody and messed up after the fight, but he wasn’t.
“That’s because I took my foot off the gas. I just coasted through that fight. I don’t think I was even really trying that hard. It kind of sucks but it is what it is. That’s what you get for being a p*ssy. No bonus for me.”
Competing in his second consecutive main event, Strickland was also seeking his fifth straight win since moving up to 185 pounds, which undoubtedly puts him in the conversation as a potential title contender in the near future.
While he has largely downplayed those aspirations in the past, the 30-year-old middleweight, who now trains out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, admitted that he started to listen to his own hype.
“I get a lot of fancy f*ckers wearing suits and they come up to me and they start talking about title fights and things of that nature,” Strickland said. “You hear that all the time and you start thinking ‘do I really want to risk getting knocked out when I could go for a title fight?’
“So I let the fancy folks in the suits throw me off a little bit but it won’t happen again.”
As much as Strickland loves to talk about how fighting serves as an outlet for his violent tendencies, he’s also making a living every time he sets foot in the octagon. Under his current contract, he is being paid a show and a win bonus, but only gets half of that money if he walks away with a loss.
“They start talking about bonuses and wins and half my pay,” Strickland said. “I want a title shot. I don’t want to go in there and potentially get knocked out and be like ‘well hey Sean, you’re a f*cking nobody.’
“I’m going to see you guys in the hall and you’re going to act like you don’t f*cking know me anymore until the next time I fight. I don’t want that. I want to be your f*cking friend, you guys. You guys only like me if I win!”
Regardless of his feelings about the performance, Strickland still managed to take out another ranked middleweight in a main event to win his sixth fight overall (including a welterweight win back in October 2018).
That should result in Strickland entering title contention at 185 pounds with reigning champion Israel Adesanya just days away from facing Robert Whittaker in a rematch at UFC 271.
Strickland expects Adesanya to win again and he believes that should actually make his case for a title shot that much stronger.
“Unless [Jared] Cannonier wins [over Derek Brunson], [Adesanya] ran through the division,” Strickland said. “Let’s get some fresh blood in. We don’t want to see another repeat. Let one white trash motherf*cker take a crack at it.”
Of course, Strickland admits he’ll have a hard time waiting for a title shot if the UFC comes calling with an offer to take another fight in the interim.
“I’m a company man,” Strickland said. “I’ll suck that D. You want to f*cking pay me, I say yes.”