Israel Adesanya opens up about convincing UFC for Sean Strickland

Israel Adesanya claims credit for advocating Sean Strickland’s title opportunity. The reigning middleweight champion, Adesanya (24-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC), is set to protect his title against Strickland (27-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) in the headline bout of UFC 293, scheduled for September 9 at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. This anticipated event’s main card will be available on pay-per-view, following preliminaries anticipated to air on ESPN and ESPN+.

Initially, the matchup between Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis was in the cards, but circumstances changed when the South African contender had to withdraw from UFC 293 due to injury. In response, Strickland was brought in as a replacement. Evidently, the UFC exhibited some reluctance towards the notion at the outset.

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Sean Strickland speaks up about the matter

In an interview with It’s Time For Sports, Strickland explained that the focus wasn’t particularly on him. He asserted that Adesanya should express gratitude for the fight’s realization, as Strickland’s efforts were pivotal in securing the bout. He advocated for Adesanya to be granted the opportunity due to his rightful position as the next deserving contender.

“It wasn’t about him really,” Strickland said in an interview with It’s Time For Sports. “He should thank me for actually making the fight happen because without me, he wouldn’t have actually got the fight. I pushed for him to get the fight because he was the next logical guy.

“I’ve beat all the top five, some of them twice, so you can’t punish us for being great. I pushed for him to get the fight. He’s an idiot, but I can’t say too much about that. He’s an idiot, so he just has to behave himself and actually show up and just fight.”

Israel Adesanya explains why he wanted Strickland fight

To what extent was Adesanya required to exert influence? “The Last Stylebender” delves into the challenges that made achieving his desire far from straightforward.

Adesanya shared, “It took significant effort.” He continued, describing Strickland as imprudent and highlighted the UFC’s reservations about him tarnishing the company’s image. However, Adesanya chose to limit his comments on the matter. He stressed that Strickland should acknowledge his role, emphasizing that he was instrumental in arranging the fight. Adesanya revealed he advocated for it, and he expressed contentment that the UFC placed faith in his judgment.

“Like I said, he’s an idiot and you know, the UFC don’t want him embarrassing the company. But yeah, that’s all I’ll say about that, so he should thank me. He should really thank me for actually making him get the fight. I pushed for it. He (coach Eugene Bareman) knows what happened behind the scenes, and I pushed for it, and I’m glad the UFC trusted me to listen to me.”

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