In one of the biggest upsets in recent times, Sean Strickland produced a sensational performance to strip Israel Adesanya of his UFC middleweight title.
While the American is renowned for his toughness, few expected him to give ‘Style Bender’ a real challenge, with many assuming the charismatic character had been brought in to provide an entertaining build-up and another clip to add to Adesanya’s highlight-reel. But oh, how wrong they were.
With his legacy resting on the moment, the 32-year-old utilised every ounce of heart and determination he had to put together a striking clinic in which he dropped the pound-for-pound great en route to clinching the title.
However, now the dust has settled, who is next for the controversial figure?
1) Israel Adesanya
While he may have just lost comfortably, there’s no denying that Adesanya is in the running for a rematch. With undeniable drawing power and an epic legacy already carved in stone, he’ll believe he has the skillset to put things right. And with Dana White firmly behind him, there’s every chance he’ll get his shot at redemption.
2) Alex Pereira
While the Brazilian has just moved up to light heavyweight, with Adesanya taken out of the picture, he’ll fancy his chances at regaining the belt.
Having just beaten Jan Blachowicz, what better way to continue annoying his biggest rival than to defeat another one of the men who’s conquered him?
Furthermore, Pereira has already beaten Strickland via first-round KO. Therefore, he’ll have the confidence to do it again. And while they’ve developed a close friendship since their first fight, if the price is right, they may be willing to put their bond on the line.
3) Dricus Du Plessis
There’s no denying the South African will have been watching at the weekend screaming at the TV. After all, following his stoppage win over Robert Whittaker, it should’ve been him in there with Adesanya, but due to injury, he missed out on his shot.
He’ll now be hoping that his opportunity to bring his life’s ambition to fruition will come against the UFC’s most polarising character.
4) Kamaru Usman
Having lost back-to-back fights against Leon Edwards, it doesn’t look like ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ will be back on the welterweight throne anytime soon. Therefore, it’s not beyond the realms of reality that a run at 185 pounds is within his sights.
After all, he already has a win over Strickland, and he’ll have full faith that lightning can strike twice.
5) Khamzat Chimaev
Since his arrival in the UFC, the Swedish sensation has looked nothing short of terryfying, dominating every fighter who has dared set foot in the cage with him. However, if there’s one man who won’t be scared of him it’s Strickland, thus, giving this potential blockbuster all the ingredients of an absolute classic. And providing he beats Paulo Costa on October 21, this dream match-up could very well become a reality.
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