LAS VEGAS – Entering his first UFC main event, Sean Strickland will log his fourth fight in less than a year.
Since moving up to middleweight, Strickland has ramped up the activity. He picked up wins over Jack Marshman, Brendan Allen and Krzysztof Jotko in the span of seven months, landing himself in the UFC’s 185-pound rankings.
Strickland (23-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) meets Uriah Hall (17-9 MMA, 10-7 UFC) on July 31 in the UFC on ESPN 28 main event less than three months after beating Jotko.
“It feels crazy,” Strickland told MMA Junkie Radio. “Uriah Hall is a dangerous guy. I’m f*cking stoked. I put in the work. I trained my ass off. Not even just this camp, I’ve been training non-stop for my entire life, so I feel good. I feel f*cking ready. It’s gonna be a tough fight.”
The move up to 185 pounds certainly has played a part in Strickland’s ability to make quick turnarounds. He’s no longer draining his body to make the welterweight limit, and the results have shown.
“I’m not a welterweight anymore, so cutting weight is a lot easier,” Strickland said. “I feel f*cking great. I actually train easier in camp than out of camp. In camp, it’s all hard, short rounds. Out of camp, I’m logging my three hours a day, nothing better to do with my time.”
He continued, “I think a lot of younger guys, they make the mistake that the more you sacrifice, the more you give up. Like you take me at welterweight, I wouldn’t be opposed to going back to welterweight if I thought I could win a belt. But younger guys have too much of a mindset that the more you kill yourself, the more weight you cut, the more you sacrifice, the more you get. That’s not how it is. Fighting healthy is right. If you can make the weight without killing yourself, that’s right. You don’t have to be miserable to succeed in life.”
Strickland knows that a win over battle-tested Hall would lead to big opportunities, but he’s not focused on that. He just purely enjoys competing and partaking in the lifestyle of the sport.
“You beat Uriah, it puts you about one fight away from a title shot,” Strickland said. “But I don’t really fight for what’s next, what’s this. I like to fight. This is my job, this is my life, and if I wasn’t getting paid to fight, I’d probably pay to fight. Really, if the UFC didn’t exist and there were gyms around and I could pay money to fight people, I would do that. I’m just fortunate enough that this is my job.”