Sean Strickland claimed he wanted to fight Paulo Costa long before the Brazilian began calling him out. According to Strickland, the fight never came to fruition as the UFC said no.
The 31-year-old also revealed that the fight was lucrative for him for a special reason. With Costa's history of missing weight, Strickland was confident of walking away with the Brazilian's fight purse. The UFC middleweight prospect recently told Helen Yee:
"I actually wanted to fight Costa before Costa even wanted to fight me. 'And the only reason I wanted to fight you Costa is because; one, I would f**k you up. And two, I knew you were gonna miss weight and I was gonna get your purse. So that was the most depressing thing about our fight not happening. Because after I knocked you out I was gonna steal your paycheck. So I wanted to fight you before even you called me out. Just so you know. And the UFC said no."
Watch Strickland's interview with Helen Yee below:
Sean Strickland is reportedly gearing up for a bout against Alex Pereira
Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa have traded several barbs amidst talks of a potential encounter. While Strickland seemed interested in the bout back in November, he appears to have changed his mind. The 31-year old recently claimed that while he is interested in the matchup, the UFC is not.
The UFC is now targeting a matchup between Strickland and Alex Oliveira for UFC 277 in July. Breaking the news, ESPN MMA's Brett Okamoto wrote on Twitter:
"Super interesting matchup in the works for UFC 277 on July 30 … Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira is verbally agreed to, per sources. Has the look of an all action fight on the feet. No official location for this card yet."
Check out the tweet below:
After the announcement, Costa accused Strickland of ducking him.
Strickland is currently riding an impressive six-fight win streak that saw him rise to the division's top five. Meanwhile, this will be a big step up in competition for Alex Pereira, who is undefeated in his two UFC outings.