Sean Strickland will make his first title defense against the top middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis. Fans were expecting Chimaev to be next; perhaps he will have to win one more match before getting a title shot. Strickland vs Du Plessis will be featured as the main event at UFC 297; the match is scheduled to take place on 20th January 2024.
Strickland seems to be thrilled; interestingly, he believes that Dricus Du Plessis is a tougher opponent when compared to Khamzat Chimaev. Dricus Du Plessis earned the title shot after claiming a dominating win against Robert Whittaker.
Du Plessis was forced to withdraw from his fight against Adesanya because of an injury. The equation is quite clear: the winner of the next middleweight title fight may face Khamzat Chimaev.
Sean Strickland on fighting Dricus Du Plessis
In a recent YouTube video, Sean Strickland explained why he thinks Dricus Du Plessis is tougher than Khamzat Chimaev.
“I think Dricus is like so awkward he’s good,” Strickland said, as quoted by mmafighting.com. “Where it’s like, you know, I’m a million times better than him, I spar guys he’s fought, I know who he is.
But he’s so awkward he’s good. It’s gonna be a war. He’ll be a tougher fight than Chimaev. Chimaev, he doesn’t deserve it. We all know that. The only reason why Chimaev gets that shot is because he sells a lot of tickets.
That’s it. At the end of the day, man, I’m happy with Dricus, it’s gonna be a hell of a fight, and I’m just happy the UFC is doing the right thing. He’s next in line, he deserves it. They’ve been doing a lot of lately with rankings and Just wrong, man. We need to go back to a professional sport where rankings matter because as of now, rankings mean -all”.