Israel Adesanya was seemingly starting to lap his competition as the 185-pound title holder, having fought three opponents on multiple occasions in the promotion. Strickland’s arrival as the new sheriff in town has now opened up a world of possibilities and attached a big fat target to his back.
Jared Cannonier, 39, was the last man to defeat the current champion, earning a closely-contested split decision nod over “Tarzan” this past December. The “Killa Gorilla” followed up the victory with a record-setting performance against Marvin Vettori in June. Cannonier battered the Italian throughout five rounds en route to a unanimous decision that saw him land a whopping 241 significant strikes, the most in middleweight history. As a result, Cannonier was deemed the backup fighter for Adesanya vs. Strickland in Sydney, Australia this past weekend and now wants to get the opportunity he feels is rightfully his.
“If you’re a true hand-to-hand combat fan like me and not in it for the (clown) ass actors and their theatrics, then you know this is the fight to make," Cannonier said on Instagram. "I beat the champ and got two checks to prove it. He wasn’t walking me down screaming in my face either. Nobody does that to me. The only other MW to beat him has ascended. He fought him differently than he fought me as well. On top of that he said it himself that he 'fought like a b****' so here’s your chance to redeem your man card @strickland_mma_ let’s actually do the man dance brother. P.S I was high as hell on that poster."
It’s still too early to know the direction the UFC will head with its new outspoken and fearless fighting champion at middleweight. What we do know is that options are far from limited. An instant rematch with Adesanya has been discussed by UFC President Dana White, top contender Dricus Du Plessis has called for his shot, Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev compete in a pivotal matchup next month, and Cannonier rides a two-fight win streak that started with a Strickland triumph.
Cannonier is 7-2 at 185 pounds, suffering defeat only to the former champions Adesanya and Robert Whittaker both via unanimous decisions. The Adesanya bout was Cannonier’s only bid for UFC gold thus far in his 23-fight career (17-6)
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Two instant rematches?
It honestly is. But if Izzy gets one, I just want mine too. What’s goodie widdit?! https://t.co/aNVJCFnQZB— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) September 14, 2023
Out here enjoying what Alaska has to offer pic.twitter.com/vaeQBBfsCY— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) September 14, 2023
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) September 15, 2023
For those asking and who saw a post today…. I most definitely wasn’t released from the UFC… I just had my baby and have been inactive … therefore my ranking has gone down because of the inactivity … but I am still ranked top 10… and plan for a 2024 return #fakenews— Tecia Pennington (@TeciaTorres) September 15, 2023
Cannonier has certainly been put in a weird spot after Strickland’s divisional leapfrogging to the 185-pound mountaintop. Du Plessis is still the rightful next guy in line, it’s just a matter of sorting things out between Cannonier, Adesanya, and Costa/Chimaev.
Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy the weekend and thanks for reading!
Who would win the rematch?
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