Reigning UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland is pleased that his next opponent will be Dricus Du Plessis, ranked second in the division, and not Hamzat Chimaev, who received an eighth-place ranking and a title shot for his win over Kamaru Usman.
“I think Dricus is so scrawny that it makes him a very good fighter,” MMA Fighting quoted the American as saying. “You know, I’m a million times better than him – I’ve sparred with the guys he’s fought, and I have an idea of who he is. But he’s so clumsy that it plays into his hands, and it’s definitely going to be a hell of a war. It’s going to be a tougher fight than it was with Chimaev.”
“Chimaev didn’t deserve a title fight and we all know that. The only reason Chimaev was given a title shot is because he sells a lot of tickets. And that’s the end of it. At the end of the day, I’m satisfied that it’s going to be Dricus. It’s going to be one hell of a fight and I’m just glad the UFC decided to do the right thing. Dricus is next in line and he deserves his chance.”
“There’s been some bullshit going on with the rankings lately and it’s just wrong as hell. We need to go back to professional sports where ratings have weight and meaning, because right now ratings don’t mean a damn thing.”
A few days earlier, the Chechen fighter announced that he withdrew from his fight against Sean Strickland due to injury, ceding his title shot to the South African, but is set to face the winner of the championship matchup headlining UFC 297 in Toronto on Jan. 20.