Sean Strickland expects the UFC to book an immediate rematch between middleweight champion Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya.
Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) dethroned Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) with a come-from-behind TKO win to capture the middleweight title last month at UFC 281. Pereira was able to defeat Adesanya for the third time – with the other two times in kickboxing.
With their long-standing history and the stylistic matchup, Strickland thinks the UFC will capitalize by booking another fight between Pereira and Adesanya.
“Rankings mean f*ck all nothing,” Strickland told MMA Junkie. “It doesn’t matter what you’re ranked. It doesn’t matter your position. If the UFC wants you to fight for a belt, doesn’t want you to fight for a belt, it doesn’t happen. They would probably want Izzy to fight, because (Robert) Whittaker will probably just take him down and grind him out for f*cking five rounds, so they’re thinking let’s milk this cash cow one more time with Izzy.”
Strickland admits he thought Adesanya would retain his title but doesn’t disagree with Marc Goddard’s stoppage in the fight, which Adesanya protested.
“I thought Izzy was gonna win just because I thought Izzy was gonna fight like a b*tch the whole time,” Strickland said. “Just run and not fight. Not do the f*cking man sh*t like I did, but Alex, he hits hard. I think it was a good stoppage. It is what it is.”
He continued, “Izzy fights like a f*cking b*tch. Izzy can fight, and he’s f*cking good. He’s long, he’s a giant, but he fights like a f*cking b*tch. Nobody wants to see guys like that. We need to go back to the old school, the Chuck Liddell, the f*cking guys who stand and bang.”
Strickland (25-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) will look to rebound from his knockout loss to Pereira at UFC 276 when he faces Jared Cannonier in the UFC Fight Night 216 headliner Dec. 17 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.