Sep 9, 2023; Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA; Sean Strickland speaks at a press conference after defeating Israel Adesanya (not pictured) during UFC 293 at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Strickland’s Rise: Controversial Yet Unstoppable

From Gym Troubles to UFC Glory: Sean Strickland's Unconventional Path to the Middleweight Title

In the competitive world of the UFC, Sean Strickland has emerged a controversial figure, often clashing with peers, yet undeniably successful. His triumph at UFC 293, seizing the middleweight championship from Israel Adesanya, marks the pinnacle of a journey punctuated by both conflict and conquest.

Strickland’s ascent, especially noteworthy given his winning nine out of his last 11 bouts, hasn’t been without controversy. Renowned for his unfiltered demeanor, he’s often found at the center of gym conflicts, a quality that once led to his exit from Team Quest, as MMA veteran Dan Henderson recounted on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

“He was at my gym for, like, three years. We kind of had to let him go. He just kind of gets too involved talking shit about people. I liked him in the gym, he was a great training partner… But he just was too disrespectful to teammates and stuff,” Henderson disclosed, while acknowledging Strickland’s potential, a point proven by his recent victory.

Despite past friction, Henderson bears no grudge, expressing support for Strickland’s career, highlighting a crucial decision in his weight class shift that possibly became a game-changer.

“I was yelling at him to go up a weight class because he was always trying to make 170. I was like, ‘Dude, you need to go 185. You’ll feel a lot better, you’ll be fine competing up there.’ But everybody is always mentally afraid of being against bigger guys,” Henderson shared, reflecting on his own illustrious background in varied weight divisions.

Henderson’s praise didn’t end there. He commended Strickland’s formidable grappling, striking defense, and unique stamina, contributing to his impressive rise within the UFC ranks.

“His natural ability is his cardio,” Henderson remarked. “He knows how to fight well too, but naturally he just has cardio for days.”

In the unforgiving terrain of mixed martial arts, Sean Strickland has carved a niche for himself. With a middleweight title now adorning his career, his story is a testament to the fact that sometimes, the path to victory is as unique as the fighter himself.

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