Home MMA NewsLatest News Monday Mailbag: Enter the Strickland Era – UFC Middleweight Champion!

Monday Mailbag: Enter the Strickland Era – UFC Middleweight Champion!

by admin
0 comment
Upset in UFC

Breaking News in the MMA Universe! Hold onto your seats, folks, because the ground beneath us just shifted in ways we never thought possible. It’s so earth-shattering that if someone told me this a week ago, I would’ve dismissed it as pure madness. But here we are, witnessing a change that nobody saw coming – a change in the name of this column.

Yes, you read that right. “Hot Tweets” no longer graces this recurring feature. Apparently, “incredibly stupid” and “gratingly incoherent” were used to describe it. I was taken aback, there were hurt feelings, and some shouting, but in the end, it’s official; this column is now simply called a mailbag. Who would’ve thought this day would come?

Oh, and by the way, Sean Strickland defeated Israel Adesanya to become the new UFC middleweight champion this past Saturday. Let’s dive into the madness!

Sean Strickland: The UFC’s New Middleweight Kingpin

Dude, I’m still processing what I witnessed two days ago. Strickland didn’t just luck into this win. He didn’t land a miraculous punch or have divine intervention on his side. He dominated Adesanya. Let me put this into perspective: just 14 months ago, he was staring at the ceiling after an obliteration by Alex Pereira. At the start of this year, he was on a two-fight losing streak! Two months ago, he was only a -150 betting favorite against Abus Magomedov! And now, he’s handed a beating to Izzy like he was a rented mule. I’m baffled, confused, and my “flabber” has been thoroughly “gasted.” 2023, you’re one strange timeline.

Upset of the Century?

As it stands, Strickland’s triumph over Adesanya ranks as the second biggest upset in MMA history (with Matt Serra over Georges St-Pierre firmly holding the top spot). Nobody gave Strickland a shot at winning this one. I, for one, wrote an entire article outlining why Strickland had almost no chance (whoops!), and I wasn’t alone in that belief. Even Strickland’s coach, Eric Nicksick, believed Adesanya was a terrible matchup for them! And then they went out there and schooled him. To me, this ranks higher in the upset department than almost anything I’ve seen.

However, history’s perspective can change, and it might shift significantly over the next few years. Strickland looked incredible in the fight, and he might have genuinely turned a corner in his career. At just 32 years old and training with one of the world’s best camps, he has plenty of room to grow. This win wasn’t a fluke; Strickland strategically outboxed the best striker in MMA, taking away his weapons and landing punches repeatedly. Maybe Strickland is just really, really good now, and if that’s the case, this upset might lose a bit of its luster.

On the flip side, there’s a chance that Adesanya is past his prime. He’s only 34, but he’s been a professional fighter for 13 years. That’s when the wear and tear of combat sports starts catching up with you. Adesanya has had a staggering 113 professional fights across boxing, kickboxing, and MMA, not to mention countless hours of sparring and training. That’s a lot of mileage on the body, and it might be catching up with him. Is Adesanya starting to decline? We won’t know for sure until a few more fights, but the first thing to go for aging fighters is often their ability to pull the trigger, and Adesanya looked sluggish on Saturday. It could be Strickland’s brilliance, or it could be something bigger. If it’s the latter, this upset might lose some of its shine over time.

More Upset Talk

Now that I’ve admitted my colossal prediction error, let me remind you that I called Julianna Peña upsetting Amanda Nunes. So, naturally, my answer is that Strickland’s win is a bigger upset. But here’s the kicker: it seems to hold true across the board (at least for now, see the question above). Almost everyone thought Nunes would beat Peña, but even those picking Nunes could see a path to victory for Peña. That wasn’t the case here. I’m sure someone out there picked Strickland to win just because, but even the brightest minds in the sport couldn’t quite figure out how he could do it. No one foresaw him winning by out-boxing Izzy for 25 minutes. Truly wild times.

Immediate Rematch?

Dana White has suggested that a rematch between Strickland and Adesanya is the logical step. Respectfully, I must disagree; that’s one of the most absurd ideas I’ve heard.

Immediate rematches are acceptable in two scenarios: when a fight was a blatant robbery, or when fighters split the first two encounters. That’s it. Long-reigning champions shouldn’t automatically get rematches after they lose because, well, they lost! Fighting has stakes, and your last fight determines your standing. Allowing champions immediate rematches means that challengers have to beat them twice, and that’s simply unfair.

Let’s compare Julianna Peña and Holly Holm. Both pulled off massive upsets, but Peña was immediately thrown back into a rematch with Nunes and got obliterated. She’s often seen as a fluke champion. On the other hand, Holm upset Ronda Rousey, lost the title in her next fight, and is remembered as a former champion whose victory was a historic moment. Immediate rematches can cheapen the whole process. The new champion deserves their time in the spotlight, while the former champion should earn their way back to the top.

More Rematch Talk

Despite what I said earlier, if I were Strickland, I’d definitely push for a rematch with Adesanya. Firstly, it’s the most lucrative option, and secondly, other top middleweight contenders could be tougher matchups for Strickland.

I’m still skeptical that Strickland is the best middleweight on the planet, but after Saturday, I have some confidence that he’s better than Adesanya. That’s a shocking turnaround from my earlier stance. Strickland didn’t win by accident; he systematically dismantled Adesanya. In a rematch, Adesanya would need to make significant adjustments, or the result might be the same. Could he do it? Absolutely! He’s an exceptional fighter. But we now know that Strickland can beat Adesanya, so I’d bet on that. Dricus du Plessis, Khamzat Chimaev, and Paulo Costa are all unknown quantities, and their fights might not be as marketable. Go for the money, I say.

Dricus du Plessis

Regrettably, through no fault of his own, Dricus du Plessis finds himself in a tough spot. In a rational, merit-based world, he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 contender. He dominated Robert Whittaker, the gatekeeper to title contention in the middleweight division. He should’ve been next in line to face Adesanya. However, promotional interests have intervened, and now he’s third in line.

Du Plessis is already lobbying for his shot at the title, but it seems unlikely he’ll get it. Adesanya appears to be headed for a rematch, and Dana White hinted that Khamzat Chimaev might get a title shot purely out of spite for du Plessis not taking another fight within two months. This leaves du Plessis as the odd man out, despite being the most deserving contender. The MMA gods (and UFC decision-makers) can be quite harsh.

The Future of the Middleweight Division

As for the future of the middleweight division, it’s uncertain. I doubt Strickland will hold onto the title for long, but a lot depends on how Chimaev fares against Paulo Costa. If Chimaev continues his dominant streak, he might hold the belt for a while. But if he struggles against Costa’s physicality and pressure, du Plessis could become the division’s standard-bearer. In the short term, I don’t expect anyone to have a five or six-defense title reign; it’s a tough feat to achieve. The best bet for a dominant reign might be Bo Nickal, but we’re a few years away from that possibility.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who sent in tweets! If you have burning questions related to combat sports or anything else, you can send them to me @JedKMeshew, and I’ll answer my favorites. Whether they’re topical or insane, as long as they’re good questions, I’m here to respond. Until next week, fight fans!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Upset in UFC

What was the biggest news in the UFC discussed in the article?

The biggest news discussed in the article was Sean Strickland’s shocking upset victory over Israel Adesanya to become the new UFC middleweight champion.

How does the author describe Sean Strickland’s performance in the fight against Adesanya?

The author describes Sean Strickland’s performance as a comprehensive and dominant victory, emphasizing that it wasn’t a fluke and that Strickland strategically outboxed Adesanya for the entire 25 minutes of the fight.

Does the article mention any potential immediate rematch between Strickland and Adesanya?

Yes, the article mentions that Dana White suggested an immediate rematch between Strickland and Adesanya, but the author strongly disagrees with this idea, explaining why immediate rematches can be problematic in MMA.

Who is Dricus du Plessis, and what is his position in the middleweight division discussed in the article?

Dricus du Plessis is another middleweight fighter, and the article highlights that he should be the clear No. 1 contender for the title due to his impressive victory over Robert Whittaker. However, despite his deserving position, it’s suggested that du Plessis might not get a title shot due to promotional interests.

What does the author say about the future of the middleweight division in the UFC?

The author expresses uncertainty about the future of the middleweight division and suggests that Strickland might not hold onto the title for long. The outcome of future fights, particularly how Khamzat Chimaev performs against Paulo Costa, will play a significant role in determining the division’s future.

How can readers send their questions to the author for future articles?

Readers can send their questions to the author by tweeting them to @JedKMeshew. The author invites questions related to combat sports or any other topics, as long as they are interesting and well-formulated.

More about Upset in UFC

You may also like

Leave a Comment