Following his defeat in the UFC 297 title match against Dricus Du Plessis, Sean Strickland has released a statement. Strickland, with a record of 28-6 in MMA, aimed to secure his inaugural UFC title defense in the bout against the South African contender in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Strickland had previously claimed the middleweight title in September at UFC 293, displaying a skillful performance that dethroned Israel Adesanya. On the other hand, Dricus Du Plessis, with a record of 21-2 in MMA, entered his first UFC title fight on an eight-fight unbeaten streak, the most recent being a TKO victory over former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
As promised, both Strickland and Du Plessis delivered on the guarantee of a fierce battle. Strickland initiated the confrontation aggressively in the opening five minutes, dominating the challenger with his jab and movement. However, as Du Plessis applied pressure in rounds two and three, the tide turned in his favor.
Despite battling a swollen left eye, Du Plessis created multiple cuts on Strickland’s face and head, battering the champion throughout the fourth round. The fifth round appeared to favor Strickland, who landed more effective punches and prevented Du Plessis from backing him down.
Despite the late surge, Sean Strickland fell short on the judges’ scorecards, resulting in a hotly debated split decision. Shortly after the title loss, Strickland shared a statement on ‘X,’ expressing his thoughts on the match:
“Well f**k haha… Man that headbutt really made it difficult to see but I thought we got the job done. Blood and all!!! Onto the next one!!! Thanks everyone who supported me!!!!!!”
Despite Dana White scoring the fight in favor of Strickland, the UFC CEO seems uninterested in an immediate rematch. Instead, White is now focused on arranging a highly anticipated grudge match between Dricus Du Plessis and Israel Adesanya.
The question is posed to the audience: Who would you like to see Sean Strickland fight next?