I have said quite a bit about this guy over the past week but not enough, apparently. Sean Strickland is a unique fighter in his mindset but don’t think for a second it makes him weaker.
Sean’s mindset is just different. He absolutely loves to fight and even though he completely dominated Krys Jotko on Saturday night, even though he had the Pole literally running from him the entire time, Strickland was disappointed in himself for not securing the finish.
Strickland had a rough childhood, to say the least, and was saved by MMA. Then as his career is surging, he had a near death experience when a truck hit his motorcycle. He was badly concussed and look what it did to his knee!
It takes two to tango and if you are throwing mostly straight punches as Sean does, it is going to be very difficult to hurt your opponent if he or she is moving backwards. Maybe Sean could have thrown a looping shot that has more range and is much more effective against an opponent who is moving away from you.
That would have taken him out of his zone, though, and once this guy gets there, he is very very hard to slow down.
In today’s UFC in the Welterweight Division, there is just one king and I just got done raving about him for two weeks as well. Kamaru Usman is the man. There is just nothing else to say about that. He is the king of the Welterweight Division.
— UFC (@ufc) April 26, 2021
Is Sean Strickland and his forward pressure a threat to the champion, though? Let’s examine his chances against Kamaru today and actually handicap a potential fight between the two championship minded fighters.
Sean would have to return to 170 pounds for this matchup but he has fought there before and with his size could give the champion, Kamaru Usman, a great deal of trouble.
Kamaru Usman vs Sean Strickland
Stylistically, if this were to remain a striking battle, I have to edge Sean Strickland here even with the newfound power, precision, and timing of the Nigerian Nightmare.
The striking war would be won or lost by the front foot. Who is moving forward and who is moving backward?
Kamaru isn’t a big double leg guy so forward movement in an open space wouldn’t be too risky for Sean Strickland. What would be the highest risk for the SoCal native would be backing up against the cage and letting Kamaru work from there.
That is the worst thing he could do and knowing Sean, I don’t think he will. Then again, Justin Gaethje didn’t plan on being on his bike Tour de France style when he fought Khabib Nurmagomedov either but he sure was.
My shoulders are probably twice as narrow and it is a struggle developing power with my elbow tucked to my side so I get it. I am forced to flare that elbow out to get some power but unless I trick them somehow, my opponent or partner will see it coming a mile away.
Sean just pumps them out like a piston, though, but so does Kamaru…
Do I need to remind you of him knocking out Jorge Masvidal? We have all seen it and the water/sweat spread that came off of Gamebred’s head is something we will never be able to forget.
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
Heck, I don’t want to. That was awesome, and it paid us at (+355)!
Where would we line this potential future title fight, though, between Sean Strickland and Kamaru Usman?
I would open this one at (-230) for Kamaru Usman and (+190) for the challenger, Strickland. Don’t get me wrong. I want to give Sean some more love than that.
He is my new favorite fighter now that Anderson Silva has “retired”, finally.
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
Even if Sean is able to maintain the front foot and forward pressure against Usman, Kamaru has shown to have more power in his hands. If Usman gets a little overconfident in his boxing ability, then Sean can catch him.
If Usman fights Sean the same way he fought Tyron Woodley or Jorge Masvidal the first time, then I think he cruises to a win but if Kam tries to bang it out, he might get behind on the judges’ scorecards early and be forced to do something desperate to catch up.
Strickland is the man but I don’t think a title shot should be next. Throw him in there with “Big Mouth” Kevin Holland. That is a fight and a conversation no doubt that every fight fan wants to see and hear.
Sean Strickland seems to be at home at 185 pounds but a title shot might motivate him to cut a few extra pounds to make the 170 limit.
All you have to do is listen to the guy talk for a few minutes about anything and you understand how intelligent he is. Listen a little bit longer and you pick up on his level of focus.
Watch him fight and you see the skill. Watch him a little longer and you see his heart. If you think he isn’t training right, just check his social media and you will see he is working with the best fighters and coaches from both Southern California and Las Vegas.
John Wood, my old coach, was in his corner on Saturday night and I don’t think I have ever seen John so quiet in the corner. You could tell that Strickland is one of those guys who doesn’t like a lot of instruction.
— UFC (@ufc) May 2, 2021
He is the fighter and he feels like he already knows what to do and what not to do. That is good but he does have to remember that perspective is everything and the coach simply has a different perspective than you, the fighter, do while you’re locked inside of that Octagon.