SALT LAKE CITY – Although he’s coming off a loss, Sean Strickland might not be in as deep of a hole as initially perceived.
Strickland (25-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) failed during a title eliminator against Alex Pereira at UFC 276 in July when he lost via first-round knockout, but that doesn’t mean he necessarily took a step back, according to his manager Tim Simpson, of Paradigm Sports.
The loss to Pereira snapped a six-fight winning streak for Strickland. One fight after his knockout defeat, Jared Cannonier lost to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Now, Strickland and Cannonier are matched up for an Oct. 15 main event.
Simpson manages Adesanya and Strickland, as well as another middleweight contender, Jack Hermansson, who fights Derek Brunson on Dec. 3. When Simpson projects the short-term future, Simpson thinks title opportunities are at stakes for his clients.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” Simpson recently told MMA Junkie. “Because if… Israel goes and beats Alex, Sean goes and beats Jared (Cannonier), and then also Jack Hermansson has a big fight in December as well. Jack and Sean obviously just fought. Out of those guys in the top five, top 10, again speaking of Izzy wanting to fight everyone of his era, Jack and Sean are two he hasn’t fought yet. They are guys who are credible fighters, top five guys. Both of those guys are there for an opportunity, too. Both of them deserve a title shot and I’m sure both of them will.”
If Strickland and Adesanya both win their upcoming bouts, a potential matchup between the two of them would likely see a pre-fight build-up full of trash talk. During UFC 276 fight week, the two fighters engaged in a war of words and insults at a pre-fight news conference despite being in separate matchups.
Check out the full interview with Tim Simpson in the video above.