Sean Strickland is an American mixed martial artist who currently competes in the middleweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is the reigning UFC middleweight champion, having beat Israel Adesanya in 2023. He has a professional record of 28 wins and 5 losses, with 11 wins by knockout and 4 by submission. He is known for his aggressive striking style, his trash talking, and his controversial personality.
Strickland was born on February 27, 1991, in Anaheim, California. He grew up in a dysfunctional family, with a physically and mentally abusive father who often beat him and his mother. He was expelled from several schools for fighting and had a troubled childhood. He started training in mixed martial arts at the age of 14, and turned pro at the age of 17. He fought for the King of the Cage promotion, where he became the middleweight champion in 2012. He defended his title three times before signing with the UFC in 2014.
Strickland made his UFC debut at UFC 171, where he submitted Bubba McDaniel in the first round. He then won a split decision over Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 41. He suffered his first UFC loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 61. He bounced back with wins over Igor Araujo, Alex Garcia, and Tom Breese. He lost to Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision at UFC 210, and then moved up to light heavyweight for a one-off fight against Alex Pereira at UFC 276. He was knocked out by Pereira in the first round, in what was considered one of the biggest upsets of the year.
Strickland returned to middleweight and went on a six-fight winning streak, defeating Court McGee, Nordine Taleb, Jack Marshman, Brendan Allen, Uriah Hall, and Jack Hermansson. He earned his first title shot against Jared Cannonier at UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland in December 2022 and lost a close split decision to Cannonier. . He defeated Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in September 2023 for the UFC Middleweight title in what is arguably one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
Strickland is known for his outspoken and controversial personality, both inside and outside the octagon. He often engages in trash talking with his opponents and other fighters, and has been involved in several altercations and incidents. He has been criticized for making homophobic, racist, and sexist remarks, as well as expressing violent and antisocial views. He has also been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, although he has never failed a drug test. He has a loyal fan base who appreciate his honesty and intensity, but also many detractors who find him offensive and disrespectful.
Strickland is one of the most polarizing figures in mixed martial arts today. He is a talented and dangerous fighter who has risen to the top of his division, but also a controversial and divisive personality who has stirred up controversy and criticism