Jared Cannonier reveals how close he was to stepping into UFC 293 main event: “Would have been funny as hell”

By Josh Evanoff - September 21, 2023

UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier was pretty close to stepping in at UFC 293.

Jared Cannonier

‘Killa Gorilla’ has been out of action since a unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori in June. That was Jared Cannonier’s second victory in a row, previously defeating Sean Strickland in December. That winning streak, but a 2022 loss to Israel Adesanya, led to ‘Tarzan’ getting a title shot at UFC 293.

While Jared Cannonier was badly hoping for a title shot, he was instead passed up by Sean Strickland. However, he was given the backup spot and weighed in for the fight. However, he wasn’t needed. In the main event of UFC 293, ‘The Last Stylebender’ wound up being upset by the challenger.

However, Jared Cannonier nearly did step into the main event of UFC 293. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, he stated that due to Sean Strickland punching a fan during fight week, he nearly stepped in. He didn’t speak to any UFC representative officially but heard from others that he might get subbed in.

It got so close, that Jared Cannonier’s coach, John Crouch, booked a flight to Australia. However, after seeing Strickland doing media during fight week, he decided not to board the plane.


Jared Cannonier, UFC 254

“I woke up, it was Tuesday, we were doing check-ins, and I ran into Sean,” Jared Cannonier told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “He was signing his posters, and he was telling us the same story that got out, that he was out on a beach somewhere greeting fans — you know how fans are, they come up to you — and one of them said some slick s*** to him, and he gave him a nice one to the body and went along his day. There was the potential of that coming out. You know how some people are, they’ll press charges and try to get some attention or even a paycheck out of it. (h/t MMA Fighting)

Jared Cannonier continued, “…That’s what I heard, that’s the story that I got from him and then the next day I woke up I was hearing stories from other sources that this fight could potentially be in jeopardy. Stay ready, stay prepared. That’s what it was… It got close – Crouch was about to fly out. He was supposed to fly out, he was at the airport, they were calling him for boarding and stuff. He was about to board, and then he was looking — I guess he found some video of Sean doing media day stuff as if he was still fighting, so he decided to pull the plug and not come, and it never turned into anything.”

“I never talked to any UFC officials directly. I had the hearsay from one of my corners, who communicated with some other individuals. But I was just there handling business. If it happened that would have been funny as hell, and I would have been ready to swoop in and save the day.”

What do you make of these comments from Jared Cannonier? Who do you want to see him fight next?


Jared Cannonier UFC