Despite being just six weeks away, the UFC’s return to Sydney, Australia, is currently without a poster pairing.
When the promotion’s upcoming UFC 293 pay-per-view was announced alongside a three-event deal with the New South Wales government, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya was quickly named as the planned headliner.
Dana White also highlighted Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis as the likely opponent-determiner. But when the South African emerged victorious earlier this month, he was quick to withdraw his name from the hat owing to insufficient turnaround time.
With that, focus turned to Sean Strickland, who was widely believed to be second in line following two victories so far this year. That sentiment was also shared by Adesanya himself, who called “Tarzan” out on social media.
Unfortunately for Strickland and his title ambitions, the UFC seemingly sees things differently.
O’Malley: Strickland As Champion Won’t Be Ideal From A ‘Business Perspective’
The #6-ranked middleweight contender recently took to social media to pour cold water on talk of him crossing the world to compete on Aussie soil. According to Strickland, the UFC isn’t that keen on the idea of him headlining against “The Last Stylebender.”
Prior to that revelation, UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley had already questioned whether the organization would be happy having the outspoken and often brash American as one of its champions.
“Sean Strickland’s a f*cking character. If you’re the UFC, I don’t know if you want Sean Strickland as your UFC champion,” O’Malley said during an episode of the TimboSugarShow. “Him going on podcasts saying, ‘I crave killing people.'”
And following Strickland’s recent remarks, O’Malley doubled down on his suggestion during an episode of his BrO’Malley Show.
In the mind of “Sugar,” a desire to avoid Strickland gaining the platform of a titleholder is the only possible explanation for talk of “Tarzan” not getting the next shot.
“I can only see one reason they don’t want that fight,” O’Malley said. “It’s just they’re risking Sean being the champ. I don’t know, that’s speculation. I’m not a hater, I would watch the fight. I think from a business prospective, maybe that’s why. Why else wouldn’t you want that fight? Izzy is a champ. You wanna see him keep winning. He’s healthy.”
With time running out to secure an opponent for Adesanya or some sort of prominent main event booking, many still expect Strickland to be put on a plane Down Under should the UFC fail in its pursuit of an alternative option.
I will say it is wild they are having a card like that and don't have a headline 6 weeks out. Someone at the ufc really dropped the ball on this…
I offered. Best I could do. Maybe we can just have a parking lot event after for the aussies. https://t.co/NMWIJZwhbS
— Sean Strickland (@SStricklandMMA) July 26, 2023
Read Also: Sean Strickland Reveals His ‘Deadline’ For UFC To Book Israel Adesanya Title Fight
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