Las Vegas, NV — After two years away — he hasn’t been seen in the octagon since 2018’s Moncton, New Brunswick card — Sean Strickland returned to action at UFC Vegas 12.
It was a middleweight bout against Jack Marshman that marked his return from a scary motorcycle accident. And as it turned out, the wait, for fans, paid off. And for Strickland (21-3), really. While losing that much time is never good for a fighter, Strickland put on a memorable performance in his return. Helped along by a Jack Marshman who just wouldn’t go away.
“That guy has a granite chin, Jesus,” Strickland exclaimed following the fight, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “I know he got knocked out by one guy, but apparently the only punches you can knock him out with are the ones he doesn’t see. His head is made with frigging rock.”
Strickland vs. Marshman may go down as one of the most vocal fights in history, with Sean Strickland talking to his opponent for what felt like the entire fifteen minutes.
“Me and him were vibing,” said Strickland. “When you meet a kindred soul — I knew me and that guy, you like to scrap, I like to scrap, you like to box, I like to box, we’re gonna box. I like this! I don’t even feel like it was an MMA fight, I feel like it was a boxing match.”
Of course, a lot of onlookers were shocked when Strickland, clearly up on the scorecards, called on Marshman to stand and trade in the final 30 seconds. Offering his opponent a chance to win.
“As I said it, simultaneously I’m picturing me in the back room, sitting down knocked out in the corner, and my coach is looking at me like ‘Sean, you’re an idiot,'” admitted Strickland. “So as I’m telling him that, I’m thinking that, but I’m like whatever man, we’re doing it Jack.”
The motorcycle accident that kept him out of the octagon since 2018 could have ended his career. But Strickland would simply not allow that to happen. “Every doctor I spoke to was telling me that ‘you can fight for sure, but you probably shouldn’t fight,'” he told Cageside Press. “The hardest thing was telling these doctors to shut up, like ‘you don’t know what I can or can’t do.'”
After all the time away, Strickland now feels like he’s home. And it feels like he belongs, he added. “The accident kind of made me grow as an individual. A lot of my fights, I’ve been so afraid of losing that I wasn’t even enjoying it. And now as you’ve seen with Jack, going through that, I don’t even care about winning so much anymore. I just want to have good fights. I want the fans to enjoy watching me, I just want to have some wars for you guys.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 12 post-fight press conference with Sean Strickland above.