Eric Nicksick: "Sean Strickland calls out Ngannou at every sparring match"

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Eric Nicksick: "Sean Strickland calls out Ngannou at every sparring match"

Five wins in a row, four within the middleweight division, and a string of controversial statements are the factors that have drawn Sean Strickland’s attention to the MMA public. Currently the seventh-ranked middleweight challenger will fight Jack Hermansson at the UFC Fight Night 201 event in exactly one month.

If Sean Strickland wins that match, he will probably be one step away from attacking the title. Sean Strickland is preparing for his next performance at Xtreme Couture Hall, one of the best MMA halls in the world. The head coach of that hall, Eric Nicksick, in an interview for MMA Fighting, described the experience of working with a fighter who is quite unconventional, at least when it comes to his character.

‘‘ I love working with him. It reminds me of the ‘old school’ days at Xtreme Couture Hall. We used to have Mike Pyle and Jay Hieron." "These two guys came to sparring and they didn’t care who you were or whether you were friends.

They tried to fight with you every day and it was their vibe." "Of course, we have moved away from that over time, because it is not good for the longevity of your career. But there is a certain element to it all, which I enjoy.

I like toughness and I think it matters. ’’ Nicksick began, then described Sean Strickland's approach to sparring and training in more detail. ‘‘ You want to have a competitive spirit in the hall.

Sean Strickland's approach is not always the best. He does not say nice things to people, but with his way of speaking and his approach, he proves that he cares about the people around him and wants to get the best out of them."

"He sometimes sees more potential in other fighters than they see in themselves. He will always tell you exactly how he feels and I think it’s a refreshment these days. ’’ Nicksick added. Xtreme head coach Couture Gym explained that they still had to go through a certain conversation before Sean Strickland joined.

They explained the rules of conduct to him, Sean respected them and Nicksick states that the cooperation is excellent so far.

Sean Strickland and Francis Ngannou

Some fighters from the hall stick to certain patterns regarding Sean Strickland.

So Brad Tavares, also a middleweight fighter, doesn’t want to pair more than one round with Sean Strickland. Nicksick explained why. ‘‘ It’s fun that he (Sean Strickland) and Tavares pair only one round, in each sparring.

Brad doesn’t want to give him more than one round because he claims it’s the only way to stay friends. If they do more than one, they will fight and hate each other. " One of the members of Xtreme Couture Gym is Francis Ngannou.

The ‘Predator’ is the UFC’s heavyweight champion and one of the scariest hitters in the history of the sport. The head coach of the hall claims that Sean Strickland enjoys pairing with him. ‘‘ That guy (Sean Strickland) will literally pair up with anyone.

He calls out Francis Ngannou at every sparring match, explaining it with the words, ‘I want to come to death as close as possible and I want that fear of God in my heart, every time I pair up with a guy like Francis’."

"Of course we let him pair with Francis Ngannou. The impression is that Francis can knock him out at any time if he wants, but he should be honored as well."