After dominating Paulo Costa at UFC 302, what’s next for Sean Strickland?

MMA: UFC 302-Strickland vs Costa
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 302, we saw a five-round battle in the middleweight division. Former champion Sean Strickland (29-6) returned to take on former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-4).

Going into the fight, I expected Costa to come forward a lot and make this thing a dog fight. I was expecting a war and before the fight, I predicted that Strickland would ultimately break Costa down and finish him late. However, that is not the fight that we got from Costa.

He came out strong with leg kicks, but he never moved forward to make the fight a war. Instead, he let Strickland control the center and do what Sean Strickland does. The former UFC middleweight champion marched forward all night and hit Costa with straight shots and kicks up the middle.

It was a Sean Strickland fight and Costa never got going. Finally in the final minute of the fight, Strickland went all out and even dropped Costa with a head kick. When it went to a decision, there was little doubt in who would win. However, one moronic judge somehow scored the fight for Costa which Dana White said afterwards was one of the craziest scorecards he had ever seen.

Thankfully, the other two judges got it right scoring it 50-45 and 49-46 for the former champion giving him the unanimous decision win at UFC 302.

What’s next after UFC 302?

Sean Strickland has made it clear what’s next for him after Saturday night. The former champion is waiting for a title shot. He’s even already tweeted out that he would be sitting out until he gets a rematch for the title and that is absolutely what he should do.

Back in January at UFC 297, he lost to Dricus Du Plessis by split decision to lose the middleweight title. Many people including myself and Dana White thought Strickland own the fight, but the scores didn’t go his way. That loss came on the heels of him dominating Israel Adesanya in their title fight.

Adesanya and DDP are going to fight for the title next. I’m not sure if Strickland would be the backup for that fight, but I expect him to be there. After being there, he’ll face the winner so either way, Strickland will have a rematch for the title next. Either he’ll face DDP and try to get that one back or he’ll go for two in a row against Israel Adesanya.

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