UFC 302: Makhachev v Poirier
Photo by Luke Hales/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Middleweight division is starting to see some overlap.

The next title tilt has yet to be announced but the world expects to finally get the grudge match between the champion, Dricus du Plessis, and former champion, Israel Adesanya. Meanwhile, top contenders, Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev, will collide at UFC Saudia Arabia next weekend (Sat., June 22, 2024). The latter will presumably decide the next title challenger. So, where does that leave the most recent former champion, Sean Strickland?

Strickland, 33, recently returned to the win column with a split decision nod over Paulo Costa at UFC 302 this month (June 1, 2024). After the win, Strickland noted how he only wants to fight for the title next and is willing to wait for it. His manager, Lance Spaude, doesn’t expect that to hold thanks to “Tarzan’s” active nature.

“If he wants to sit for a title, I think he’s done enough,” Spaude told MMA Mania on Sound & Pound. “If you look at from 2023, he’s fought five times. He’s 4-1 and the one loss is to ‘DDP’ in a close split decision. Nobody’s done more in the last 18 months than Sean. So, the idea that he should have to go fight again is a little crazy to me.

[Jared] Cannonier had fought once, now he’s fought twice,” he continued. “[Khamzat] Chimaev, he’s fought once. Adesanya, twice. ‘DDP’ twice, I think. [Strickland] has been the most active Middleweight besides Brendan Allen.

“I think waiting is a good idea, I don’t know how long it’s gonna last for Sean,” Spaude concluded. “Give it two to three months, but if they call him for Australia [at UFC 305 in August], we’re ready to go.”

The problem with Strickland eventually retracting his patient stance is that logical opponent options are limited. Ultimately, the former champion will have to wait at least until the next title fight is sorted.

“I don’t know who he fights, that’s the tough part,” Spaude said. “The only people that really make sense are ‘DDP,’ ‘Izzy,’ and Whittaker is speeding up his pace, but historically, he’s fought once a year and Chimaev fights once a year. Obviously, if they go with the title, the loser doesn’t even make sense because who knows if they’ll even fight this year.

“He’s been pretty adamant that he’s gonna wait,” he continued. “I think ideally, we fight back in Vegas in December. I would like to see Sean fighting for a title in Vegas in December. I think that makes a whole lot of sense.”

Author: Staff

Please go to MMAMania.com to read full article.

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