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Sean Strickland doubles down on head butt claim after UFC 297 loss: ‘I didn’t take the coward’s way out’

Sean Strickland continues to cry foul on his UFC 297 title loss to Dricus Du Plessis.

Strickland (28-6 MMA, 15-6 UFC) dropped the middleweight belt to Du Plessis (21-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) by split decision in Saturday’s headliner at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. It was a highly competitive fight, and the lacerations on Strickland’s face certainly put him at a disadvantage in the back half of the five-round affair.

In the immediate aftermath, Strickland pointed to an alleged clash of heads by Du Plessis as a contributing factor in the result. Monday, he doubled down on that claim and said he could’ve taken the easy out with a no contest, but instead battled until the end – at which point he still thinks his hand should’ve been raised (via Instagram):

Du Plessis was caught off guard at the UFC 297 post-fight news conference when asked about the narrative of a fight-altering clash of heads, and argued he clearly won anyway.

Strickland’s latest comments weren’t taken kindly by the new champion (via Instagram comments):

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

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Sean Strickland at UFC 297 media day.

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Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in faceoff

Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in

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Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in faceoff

Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in

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Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in faceoff

Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in

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Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

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Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins faceoff

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Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in faceoff

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Dricus Du Plessis UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in faceoff

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Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

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Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

Sean Strickland UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-ins

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves)…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Sean Strickland (red glove) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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UFC 297 Dricus Du Plessis vs Sean Strickland video

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MMA: UFC 297 - Strickland vs Du Plessis

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red…

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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Dricus Du Plessis def. Sean Strickland, UFC 297 Scorecard

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie