UFC middleweight contender Sean Strickland has earned a reputation as an MMA madman with his wild social media posts and controversial workouts.
The 31-year-old, who is scheduled to fight Alex Pereira this weekend at UFC 276, is set to earn a shot against 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya who headlines the card this weekend against Jared Gunner.
‘Stylebender’ recently called Strickland a ‘rotten apple’ and claimed he would never train with someone like the man he could well face later this year.
“I saw his fight footage and I would never train with an idiot like that,” Adesanya said ahead of his main event at UFC 276.
“I’ve hurt people in sparring before and I’m just like, ‘Oh shit, my hurt’.
“Or I’ll walk away with the body shot or whatever, but I’ve seen what he does.
“I don’t like hurting people, even if it’s our job. I like to make sure they come back the next day to do their job and give us work.
“He’s got a lot of loose screws, a lot of loose screws.”
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‘He’s got a lot of loose screws’ – Adesanya explains why he’d never spare Strickland
Although he is a bit eccentric, Strickland is actually highly respected by his teammates and many even enjoy training with him despite the bad press he gets.
The American goes 100% in his workouts and demands the same from anyone he trades punches with, especially as the footage often ends up online.
In February, Strickland was helping former UFC light-heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes get back into shape during a grueling sparring session.
‘The Devastator’ laughed as Strickland spoke through practice and told him: ‘I’m here to hurt you and you’re here to play. I’m trying to f****** put you down.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but having someone like Strickland around the gym always keeps things interesting and his teammates on their toes.
As you’d expect, the charismatic fighter’s workouts don’t always go smoothly, as evidenced by his interaction with BJJ champion Orlando Sanchez last June.
During the session, Sanchez locked Strickland’s arm and the UFC star cried out in pain and accused the submission specialist of using a “dirty move”.
‘Tarzan’ launched a spinning back fist to his opponent’s head before unleashing a front kick to the body in response.
Throughout the clip, Sanchez insisted he hadn’t done anything malicious, but Strickland hadn’t and eventually left the gym in anger.
THE UGLY ONE
Strickland posted his most controversial workout on social media earlier this year with the caption: ‘It was consensual’. Don’t ban me Instagram.
The video shows Strickland unleashing a series of powerful punches at his sparring partner who looks exhausted and is just trying to survive the onslaught.
In the end, the UFC star throws and lands a high kick that knocks his opponent out.
The stranger falls through the ropes and others in the gym jump into the ring to check on their injured teammate.
After posting the footage online, Strickland received a ton of flack for two reasons.
First, many fighters and fans didn’t like the fact that he was actively trying to knock out his sparring partner when the fight is supposed to be a learning experience.
Second, everyone has bad days in combat. Some say it’s against the code to share workout stories publicly, so Strickland went overboard when he released the video of one of his good days for the world to see.
Love him or hate him, it looks like Strickland is here to stay and he’s potentially only a few fights away from being the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.