Win or lose at UFC 293, Sean Strickland says he won’t be defined by title: ‘It doesn’t make me who I am’

Win or lose at UFC 293, Sean Strickland says he won’t be defined by title: ‘It doesn’t make me who I am’

SYDNEY – Sean Strickland won’t be putting more pressure on himself over the reward that would come with a win over Israel Adesanya.

At UFC 293, Strickland gets his first crack at gold in the main event of a pay-per-view. While the moment serves as the biggest platform of his career, Strickland says the UFC middleweight title doesn’t mean much to him. Amid a now-typical vulgar pre-fight media day session, Strickland found space to contextualize his first title opportunity.

“It’s all bullsh*t, man,” Strickland told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “It’s all f*cking bullsh*t. I’m in it to get a check, and it means so much to me to fight. It means so much to me, but it’s a f*cking piece of metal. I’m in it for the paycheck. I love doing this sh*t.

“Having a piece of metal around my waist doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make me who I am, it doesn’t make me f*cking happy. It would be nice, but at the end of the day, it’s just a fight. It’s just fun.”

Strickland knows his 20th walk to the UFC octagon will be one of his toughest tests yet. Oddsmakers also see it that way as they have Strickland tapped as a sizable underdog against Adesanya, who is 13-1 in the UFC’s middleweight division.

In order to get the job done, Strickland plans on implementing his grappling game, but admits tracking Adesanya down inside the cage will be a tough task.

“You fight a guy like that, f*cking little twinkle toes, running around, dancing around, it’s hard to shoot,” Strickland said. “You’re going to have to go nose-to-nose, d*ck-to-d*ck and make it a war.”

“… Cut off the ring, you know? Take some jabs, take some punches. Get some blood, give a little bit to the gods.”

It’s the same strategy he tried to use against former middleweight champion Alex Pereira, who finished Strickland in the first round of their UFC 276 bout. The pair have since trained together, but despite Pereira’s history with Adesanya, Strickland knows on Saturday under the bright lights, it all comes down to making the least amount of mistakes possible.

“I’m going to wrestle my ass off,” Strickland said. “But I also wrestled my ass off with Alex. Problem is man, you get in there and your d*ck gets a little bit hard, next thing you know, you’re going to turn into a boxing match. Maybe I’m going to try to be a complete MMA fighter, but no promises.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 293.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie