Luke Rockhold wasn’t impressed with Sean Strickland at UFC 276.
Originally set to collide with each other at UFC 268 in Nov. 2021, Rockhold versus Strickland fell through after injury struck the former UFC and Strikeforce Middleweight champion. In the meantime, Strickland went a different direction from the match-up and fought talented kickboxer, the unranked Alex Pereira this past weekend (July 2, 2022) at UFC 276.
Unfortunately for the previously No. 6-ranked Strickland, he came up short via first round knockout (watch highlights), snapping a solid six-fight win streak.
“I think he got conned by the system,” Rockhold told Submission Radio (h/t MMA Fighting). “Sean, he just proved how f—king dumb he is. The system wanted him to try and stand with him and prove that stupid point, and he just [fell for it]. It happens. It happens to a lot of people. You try to over-prove yourself and do something stupid. That’s the game, that’s the fight game. It’s a mental f—king battle, and he lost the battle.”
Despite losing out on a Strickland bout, Rockhold’s return is still imminent. At UFC 278 on Aug. 20 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rockhold meets one-time title challenger, Paulo Costa, in what has quickly become a heated rivalry.
As for the immediate title scene and the aforementioned Pereira, it appears very likely he could be next in line for current champion, Israel Adesanya, thanks to his Strickland win and the history between the two in their respective kickboxing careers.
“Yeah, it’s an intriguing story, Alex Pereira has beat ‘Izzy’ twice,” Rockhold said. “And so you’re looking at any level of intrigue, and so they’re looking for someone that they can throw in the mix, even though Alex Pereira would get mauled by, 20 guys in the UFC would probably maul him. But yeah, it’s a compelling story if you get him past a brawler like Sean Strickland. So, they did it, and it’s up and going. So, it’s my job to go f—king deter that.”
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