It sounds like Sean Strickland is indeed the best (or only?) viable option remaining on the table for Israel Adesanya to punch in the face at UFC 293, which is scheduled to take place inside Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 9, 2023.
After No. 1 contender, Dricus Du Plessis, refused to face “The Last Stylebender” on just five weeks notice after beating Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, every Middleweight in the Top 10 has been jockeying for a 185-pound title shot. Adesanya himself called for a fight against Sean Strickland, but Strickland recently claimed “UFC doesn’t want it” in a cryptic social media posting.
Whether UFC wants it or not, that’s what’s in the process of happening. In a new interview with Submission Radio, Strickland’s head coach, Erick Nicksick, gave a positive update to those looking forward to Strickland facing Adesanya.
“I mean, all signs are pointing in a good direction,” he said. “I know that. So, we just got done sparring just now. I’d ask Sean, hey, what’s the deal? – I’m going to be out there anyway. I’m going to be cornering Casey O’Neal and, Manel [Kape]. So, it’d be nice to get a get the third guy on the card.
“But, right now, all he’s working on is getting his visa in order. But, the fight, the signs look like it’s a, ‘Yes.’ It’s all pointing in a good direction. But, it hasn’t been official yet. So, we’re still kind of in a holding pattern.
“We’re just kind of at the mercy of the visa process,” he concluded. “But he said all parties involved are on board. We haven’t talked any logistics as far as numbers go until that visa gets done. And then that would be the next hurdle. But I don’t think it would be that difficult of a hurdle to cross. But moreover, I think the visa thing is the biggest hurdle that we have to get through right now. And then once we get over that, man, and then the business kicks in and I think we’ll be good to go.”
A visa doesn’t sound all that complicated until you remember this is for Sean Strickland, a self-admitted former neo-Nazi. How many legal skeletons does this guy have in his closet? The way he talks and acts, he could have been arrested at least a few times. The Australian government can be pretty big sticklers when it comes to that kind of stuff.
And it’s a bit suspicious that Strickland — a.k.a. “Mr. Apex” — hasn’t competed outside the United States since 2018.
Still, it certainly sounds like Strickland is at the front of the line for a fight against UFC’s dynamic (and super motivated) Middleweight champion. Here’s to hoping that UFC has a back-up for its back-up, though, as the Australian government gets the last word on this particular contender (and seemingly everything else) getting his shot.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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