Las Vegas, NV — UFC Vegas 33 headliner Sean Strickland came away from his fight Saturday with the biggest win of his career.
Against dangerous striker Uriah Hall, Strickland put on a dominant performance; by the end, Hall’s eye was swelling shut. Strickland himself gave “Prime Time” plenty of respect when the pair trained together, noting during his post-fight press conference appearance that “I gave him a lot of respect, with his speed, with his timing.” On Saturday, he found out that “I’m better than you.”
Still, that respect came for good reason. Since he entered the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter (the Jones vs. Sonnen season, one of the last times the show was truly entertaining), Hall has shown flashes of brilliance— which come with some real damage.
“Uriah’s a guy I looked up to coming up. He’s about seven years older, happy birthday, Uriah. Today’s his birthday I believe,” Strickland told media outlets including Cageside Press. He’s right — Saturday night wasn’t just Fight Night, it was Hall’s 37th birthday. “So he’s a guy I looked up to, and going into that fight, it kind of meant something to me. He’s also a guy you don’t really feel to great about beating, just ’cause you like him.”
Fighting someone he’d admired and trained with, Strickland had to hit the “off” switch on friendship. “It’s funny, the moment he said yes to the fight, I hit him up in Instagram, I was like ‘dude I gotta block you, I gotta learn to hate you a little bit, I gotta want to hurt you, I gotta put some distance between me and your friendship,'” he recalled. And for good reason. “He’s a savage.”
With the win, Strickland may well find himself at the next level. UFC Vegas 33 was his first main event. With bigger wins comes more of the spotlight, though Sean Strickland appears comfortable with, but wary of, the media attention.
As he put it, “you should never enjoy fame, because it’s fake. It’s f*cking fake.” Strickland pointed to opponent Hall as a prime example, going from being lauded in every interview, to “now it’s like ‘oh he’s in the twilight of his career, he’s getting older’ — it’s just bullsh*t. I like you guys all, but it’s all bullsh*t. You guys know this.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 33 post-fight press conference with Sean Strickland above.