Sean Strickland is one formidable middleweight, so much that even Alex Pereira, the reigning 185-pound champion, was once scared of him before they met in the Octagon.
Prior to dethroning Israel Adesanya to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion at UFC 281, ‘Poatan’ defeated Strickland by first-round knockout at UFC 276 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Speaking to So Papos MMA, the Brazilian admitted that not only he was afraid to fight the United States. but he also felt that ‘Tarzan’ wanted to kill him in the cage.
“Talking about my last fight, [Strickland] had 25 fights, was doing well in the UFC, ranked No. 4 in the middleweight rankings, he’s dangerous, he’s experienced,” said Pereira. “I was scared, but when I heard him talk, I relaxed a little bit. He is a good fighter and an experienced one, but he was talking some stuff that didn’t make any sense. For a few months since the fight was booked I had fear, but it was under control. But I’ll tell you when I was the most afraid. Everything he said and up until the weigh-in, everything was fine. When he entered the octagon and started staring at me, he hadn’t looked at me that way before. That was when I became scared.”
“He’s another person inside the Octagon, different from his normal personality. I thought ‘This guy wants to kill me’ I’m telling you; this was a different guy from everything else. But in the end, it was good that he entered the octagon this way, because it woke me up, I became aware of the danger, I knew I couldn’t make mistakes. I said damn, he’s different in here, you have to be careful with this man. I went in smarter and managed to catch him,” Pereira added. [H/T MMA Mania]
Strickland, currently ranked 7th in the middleweight rankings, suffered his first loss in nearly four years against Pereira. He is now slated to face Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Vegas 66 on 17th December.
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