With UFC 302 Just Days Away, Sean Strickland Still Worried Costa Fight Might Not Happen

Newark, NJ — Sean Strickland’s first fight back after losing his UFC middleweight title arrives this weekend at UFC 302, in a highly-anticipated co-main event with Brazilian Paulo Costa.

Strickland (28-6) dropped the belt in a close split decision against Dricus Du Plessis in Toronto back in January, which had him joking during Wednesday’s UFC 302 media day that he was none too happy with “socialist” Canada at the moment. The more immediate, and serious, business however comes against Costa, who Strickland clearly sees as a potential threat at the end of the day.

“The thing with Costa, he’s a pretty basic guy, but just because you’re basic doesn’t mean you can’t fight,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press in Newark on Wednesday. “He just backs up, explodes, looks to catch you with something. That’s pretty much the tale of Costa: back up, explode, catch you with something, then put pressure on you. So just don’t be a f*cking idiot.”

With that in mind, Strickland might see this as his f*ght to lose, barring any tactical errors on his part. “I’m better than Costa. We know that, he knows that,” he exclaimed, before admitting that “have I f*cked up before? Yeah, sure, why not, but I don’t think it’s going to be on Saturday.”

Of course, that’s assuming the fight moves forward as planned. Ahead of the event, there was a brief hiccup where Costa claimed he hadn’t signed his bout agreement. That’s in the past, but Strickland still isn’t counting any chickens.

“I mean it’s Costa, dude. I’m still worried it might not f*cking happen. It’s fucking Costa. He’s probably going to be fucking drunk eating cookies tonight. It’s f*cking Costa.”

Strickland also addressed the lack of an immediate rematch against Du Plessis, something he chalked up to “dorks behind the computer,” analysts crunching numbers and suggesting that someone else would be more profitable. Still, at the same time it doesn’t sound like Sean Strickland is all that concerned about chasing gold.

“I’ve been watching UFC since I’ve been f*cking 12. You know how many champions I’ve seen come and go? Once I’m done— and I will be forgotten, we’ll move the f*ck on, you’ll have some other [champ]— it’s just like a repetitive cycle. I want to make money, I want to be happy and I’m doing those things,” stated Strickland. “And if I can fight for a belt great, if not f*ck it, I’m not poor. Being poor sucks, guys.”

After taking time to point out that life didn’t change much during his time as champ, while taking a shot at Jon Jones’ past by saying “I didn’t go to clubs and hit pregnant women and run away, I didn’t get any DUIs,” Strickland added that his current situation gives him “a path to where my hard work pays off.”

Champ or not, Strickland has had some of the best fights of his career in the past couple of years. That, he told Cageside Press, is something he boils down to the fact that “I care way less.”

After sleepless nights spent worrying about losing fights, lest he lose the validation he got from being a UFC fighter, “after my motorcycle accident, I just really detached from Sean the UFC fighter to ‘hey, I’m happy, life’s good, my value isn’t this f*cking three letter f*cking acronym.”

“I just really detached myself from the sport, and it’s helped. I just enjoy what I do now,” Strickland finished.

Watch the full UFC 302 media day appearance by Sean Strickland above.