Home MMA NewsLatest News Sean Strickland’s Championship Reign: Is He Still an Underestimated Champion?

Sean Strickland’s Championship Reign: Is He Still an Underestimated Champion?

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Sean Strickland UFC champion perception

In the ever-evolving world of mixed martial arts, the unexpected can happen at any given moment. 2023 witnessed one such remarkable turn of events when Sean Strickland, a former welterweight fighter, stunned the MMA community by capturing the UFC middleweight title in a five-round domination of Israel Adesanya. It was a victory that turned the spotlight on Strickland and set the stage for his first title defense against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297 on January 20.

However, the story doesn’t end there. UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards briefly teased the idea of pursuing a second belt at middleweight, potentially facing the Strickland vs. Du Plessis winner. While Edwards clarified that this was more of a future goal than an immediate plan, it sparked a conversation about Strickland’s perceived vulnerability as a champion.

Daniel Cormier, the former two-division champion and a respected voice in the MMA world, has weighed in on the matter. He believes that Strickland is not getting the respect he deserves as a champion. Cormier points out that since Conor McGregor’s historic achievement of winning two belts in 2016, several fighters have attempted to replicate that feat, including Amanda Nunes, himself, Henry Cejudo, T.J. Dillashaw, and Alexander Volkanovski. However, Cormier suggests that the eagerness of welterweights like Edwards to move up and challenge Strickland indicates that they perceive him as a beatable champion.

Cormier finds this perception perplexing, especially in the aftermath of Strickland’s impressive victory over Adesanya. The fight against Adesanya was a testament to Strickland’s skill and dominance, making it hard to see him as an “afterthought” in any title defense.

The skepticism surrounding Strickland may stem from his earlier career setbacks, including back-to-back losses against Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier. However, Strickland’s resurgence in 2023, with a flawless 3-0 campaign that culminated in capturing the middleweight title and earning the title of MMA Hook’s Fighter of the Year, should have silenced the doubters.

Cormier also draws attention to the contrast in attitudes towards Strickland and previous champions. Kamaru Usman, for instance, had not shown much interest in moving up to middleweight, even when his friend Adesanya was the champion. Yet, as soon as Strickland claimed the title, both Usman and Edwards began discussing the possibility of a move up in weight class. This shift in mindset raises questions about why Strickland continues to be overlooked despite his remarkable achievements.

The upcoming UFC 297 bout between Strickland and Du Plessis is expected to shed more light on Strickland’s true capabilities as a champion. Du Plessis has been on a rampage, accumulating six consecutive wins with five finishes, including a dominant victory over Robert Whittaker. Their pre-fight press conference and subsequent brawl at UFC 296 demonstrated the intensity surrounding this matchup.

In conclusion, Sean Strickland’s championship reign has been nothing short of surprising and impressive. While some may still underestimate him, the upcoming title defense against Dricus Du Plessis presents an opportunity for Strickland to prove his worth as a legitimate and formidable champion in the UFC middleweight division. MMA fans around the world will be eagerly watching to see if Strickland can continue to defy expectations and solidify his status as a dominant force in the sport.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sean Strickland UFC champion perception

Why is Sean Strickland being underestimated as a UFC middleweight champion?

Daniel Cormier suggests that Sean Strickland is perceived as beatable because some welterweights, like Leon Edwards, are considering moving up to challenge him for the middleweight title. This perception contrasts with earlier champions like Kamaru Usman, who showed little interest in moving up to middleweight.

What highlights Strickland’s championship credentials?

Strickland’s rise as a champion was marked by his surprising victory over Israel Adesanya, a dominant performance that showcased his skills and dominance. He also had a remarkable 3-0 campaign in 2023, culminating in him being named MMA Hook’s Fighter of the Year.

What upcoming fight will test Strickland’s championship status?

Strickland’s first title defense is against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297, a bout expected to reveal more about his capabilities as a champion. Du Plessis is a formidable opponent, making this a highly anticipated matchup.

How does Daniel Cormier view Strickland’s reign as champion?

Cormier questions why Strickland is still underestimated despite his impressive reign. He believes that Strickland’s dominance in the Adesanya fight should have silenced doubts about his championship credentials. Cormier also points out that the eagerness of welterweights to challenge Strickland suggests they view him as a beatable champion.

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MMATalk December 29, 2023 - 9:23 am

UFC 297 gon’ b lit with Strickland vs Du Plessis clash!

SportsInsider December 29, 2023 - 12:41 pm

Strickland’s journey from losses to champ, inspirational!

MMAfan94 December 29, 2023 - 1:49 pm

cormier knows his mma stuff, y Strickland still not gettin respect? DC make gud point.

FightGameGeek December 29, 2023 - 6:49 pm

Edwards eyein Strickland’s belt? Weird move, DC callin it out.

ChampChaser December 29, 2023 - 7:35 pm

Strickland prove haters wrong at UFC 297, excited for dat fight!


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