Morning Report: Sean Strickland calls for Dricus Du Plessis rematch, asks ‘When does the champ ever lose a close fight?’

Sean Strickland still believes he should have retained his title against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297.

The middleweight title reign of the controversial “Tarzan” was a short-lived one. After a stellar 2023 that saw him capture the accolade of Fighter of the Year in the minds of many, Strickland went toe-to-toe with South Africa’s Du Plessis on Canadian soil this past January. Unfortunately for Strickland, the judges saw the result in favor of Du Plessis, who heard “and new” via a competitive split decision.

Strickland, 33, spoke up after the loss and expressed how he felt he did enough to win the battle. Going forward, the American doesn’t appear to be in talks to receive an immediate rematch as former two-division champion Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev have been most mentioned in the conversation. Should Adesanya get the opportunity, it would be another shot at gold after a loss like he had last year against former champion Alex Pereira.

Unsurprisingly, Strickland doesn’t think that’s how the division’s title picture should shake out, especially after he became the one to last dethrone Adesanya to start his reign in September.

“You know I don’t care about fight politics or a belt but it makes me laugh they give ‘Izzy’ [Israel Adesanya] a rematch to Alex [Pereira] after getting slept..” Strickland tweeted.

“I lost a close decision that Dana [White] himself thought I won. Everyone did.. The stats did. That needs to be run back..”

Statistically, Strickland outstruck Du Plessis 183 to 140 in total strikes, per UFC Stats. Round by round, at worst, Strickland tied strike count with Du Plessis in round two with 26 a piece. Grappling-wise, Du Plessis outgrappled Strickland six takedowns to none throughout the five-round affair with three of those in round four, two in round one, and one in round two.

The fight was Strickland’s second consecutive outside of his home country of the U.S., which has led him to hint at some potential shenanigans from Toronto’s athletic commission. Never shy to state his opinion, Strickland remains less than complimentary toward the country as he also was on fight week.

“And man I don’t wanna pull this card but when does the champ ever lose a close fight?” Strickland added. “When you’re in Canada with a bunch of dirty f****** leftists.”

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The MMA Hour.

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Tsarukyan’s Road to UFC 300.


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Trivium is Immortal.

Gonna be good.

If I had to see it, so do you.

Open workout.


Oh, boy…

Time flies, indeed.

In all reality, there isn’t a clear-cut correct No. 1 middleweight contender. Who is most compelling for DDP? Probably the two options most talked about … and there’s the history with Adesanya. So, either way, I don’t think there’s a “perfect” answer to this whole equation.

Thanks for reading!


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