Sean Strickland’s coach, Eric Nicksick, confirmed the rejection of a title fight against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294. Strickland, the middleweight champion, refused the offer on a week’s notice, citing the impracticality of a quick turnaround.
Nicksick clarified the situation: “From my understanding, they [the UFC] did [offer Sean Strickland a title fight with Khamzat Chimaev]. They just threw it out there to see if he would be available. When Sean had asked me, to be honest, I was the one that kind of said no. I was like, bro, I can’t be there – like we can go out there, but it didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever as a champion to take a short notice fight against a killer.”
Quotes via LowkickMMA
Strickland’s recent victory against Israel Adesanya was a significant upset. He won via unanimous decision after a one-sided battle lasting five rounds. However, despite his readiness to fight, Strickland declined the offer against Chimaev due to the quick timeline.
Khamzat Chimaev Faces Setback: Hand Injury Threatens Title Aspirations
Chimaev, an undefeated challenger, had a potential title fight with Strickland. However, after his win over former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, he suffered a hand injury, possibly a ligament tear. He is expected to wear a supportive brace, avoiding surgery.
The UFC faced a challenge when Paulo Costa withdrew from the fight with Chimaev. They considered Strickland for the match, but the short-notice nature of the fight made it unfeasible for the champion.
In the end, Strickland’s decision was based on the practicality of taking on a formidable opponent like Chimaev on such short notice. His coach’s refusal to risk the champion in an ill-timed bout reflects the careful strategy behind managing a titleholder’s career in the highly competitive world of mixed martial arts.
Despite the speculation, the question of whether Strickland will face Chimaev for the title in the future remains unanswered. UFC fans will have to wait and see how this situation unfolds in the coming months.
Dricus Du Plessis, eyeing Sean Strickland’s Middleweight title, confidently stated that if Strickland were to face Khamzat Chimaev, Strickland would emerge victorious. Du Plessis highlighted Strickland’s skills and determination, expressing confidence in his ability to outclass Chimaev and secure the win.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images