Sean Strickland offers unique theory why Israel Adesanya ‘crumbled’ against him at UFC 293

By Josh Evanoff - January 16, 2024

UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland believes Israel Adesanya’s mental state led to his upset win.


‘Tarzan’ is currently slated to return to the octagon this Saturday night. In the main event of UFC 293, Sean Strickland will look to defeat the rising Dricus du Plessis. ‘Stillknocks’ earned the title opportunity last July, scoring a knockout win over Robert Whittaker. The South African then faced off with Israel Adesanya, in a fight that might not happen.

Later that year in September, ‘The Last Stylebender’ returned to the octagon in Australia. There, Israel Adesanya faced Sean Strickland in what was assumed to be another standard title defense. Instead, the challenger shocked the world. In round one, Strickland scored a shocking knockdown, and never let up the pressure from there.

After five rounds of action, Sean Strickland was UFC champion. Months on from the upset victory, he was asked about Israel Adesanya in a recent interview with ESPN MMA‘s Megan Olivi. There, the middleweight champion offered a unique theory on why he was able to ‘The Last Stylebender’ with ease.

According to Sean Strickland, his victory over Israel Adesanya was made easier thanks to the former champion’s mental state. According to ‘Tarzan’, the Nigerian faltered when he talked trash to him, due to the people around him. That’s the exact thing that Strickland is trying to avoid during his reign as UFC champion.


Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya UFC 293

Sean Strickland opens up on upset UFC title win over Israel Adesanya

“You know what it is? At some point, we all lose.” Sean Strickland stated to ESPN MMA, reflecting on his brief run with UFC gold to this point. “Do I beat the South African? Yes. I think I beat him, I think I knock him out and bring him into deep water. But, at some point, we all lose. You can be like Izzy, laying in a bathtub with flower petals and you could have an entourage and people following you around.”

He continued, “But, at some point, someone’s going to make fun of you for having sex with your dog. Then, you’re just going to crumble as a f*cking human being and get a DUI. That’s just not me because I’m level. You know what it is? I love my people. I love the fans, like I get such great people. But what do we do? What is my job? What do we do? I take my clothes off and do you see my face right now? This is just training. I shorten my life and beat the f*ck out of myself for the enjoyment of people.”

“…What I’m saying you guys, is you’re never going to see my in a bathtub with rose petals, and tell you that I’m the greatest in the world.” Sean Strickland concluded. “I’m just a f*cking idiot who goes and gets hit in the head for money. Currently, I’m the best at not getting hit in the head, but at the end of the day that’s all.”

What do you make of these comments about Israel Adesanya? Do you agree with UFC champion Sean Strickland?


Israel Adesanya Sean Strickland UFC