Usually when a fighter becomes champion they are considered the No. 1 best fighter in their respective division. Unless you’re UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland, who is still ranked No. 5 at 185 pounds despite handily defeating middleweight legend Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 earlier this month to claim the undisputed title.
Strickland was a heavy underdog to pull off an upset and hand Adesanya just his second career loss at middleweight. Add in the fact that Strickland had to fly to Australia to get his shot at “Last Stylebender” and the odds became even more stacked. Surprisingly, Strickland rose to the occasion and put on a striking clinic that practically put Adesanya on ice to win a unanimous decision.
For the most part, fight fans and members of the MMA community were shocked that Strickland was able to do that to Adesanya. Many people still can’t fathom that Strickland beat “Last Stylebender” on enemy soil to become the undisputed champion. It’s such a bizarre reality that it almost hasn’t set in yet.
Regardless of what people thought should have happened, Strickland is the current UFC middleweight champion and should be treated as such. This includes any new UFC rankings that have come out since Strickland’s upset win at UFC 293.
Sadly, ESPN MMA must have missed UFC 293’s main event because their crack team of so-called experts still have Strickland ranked No. 5 in the division with Adesanya remaining at No 1. Strickland isn’t even ahead of other middleweight fighters like Dricus Du Plessis, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier. It makes absolutely zero sense, but check it out for yourself below:
Brett Okamoto’s rationale:— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 15, 2023
“Israel Adesanya did not look like the better fighter when he was inside the Octagon with Sean Strickland at UFC 293.
But that was just one night, and over the long haul, one bad performance does not define a fighter any more than one good… pic.twitter.com/yAG3wYaxeJ
“Israel Adesanya did not look like the better fighter when he was inside the Octagon with Sean Strickland at UFC 293,” rationalized ESPN journalist, Brett Okamoto.
“But that was just one night, and over the long haul, one bad performance does not define a fighter any more than one good performance does.”
Do you agree with this? Regardless of how a champion obtained the belt shouldn’t they automatically be the No. 1-ranked guy in their respective division?
Let us know in the comments below!