This week we learned that Luke Rockhold was out of UFC 268. The former middleweight champion was set to face Sean Strickland (24-3) in his return to the middleweight division. Strickland is currently ranked seventh in the division.
With Rockhold out of the fight, the UFC is starting the process of looking for replacements. At the moment, it doesn’t appear like they are going to have a lack of options in getting someone to take a fight against Strickland.
Strickland is someone who is not liked by many on the UFC roster. In fact, some would say he’s one of the more hated fighters on the roster. When Rockhold fell out of the fight, multiple big names started speaking up.
One of the biggest names is top welterweight contender and former title challenger Gilbert Burns (20-4). Burns is coming off of a victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. He’s been trying to get a fight against someone near the top of the welterweight division.
Will Strickland get a new fight at UFC 268?
Another top welterweight who’s been a little more vocal about getting the fight with Strickland is Belal Muhammad (19-3, 1 NC). Muhammad took to Twitter yesterday voicing his hatred for Strickland and his desire to fight him.
However, Strickland has shot down all of the potential callouts from the UFC welterweights and other middleweight fighters. Strickland took to Instagram last night to tell Muhammad that he would backhand him if he ever saw him and said he won’t be fighting unless it’s meaningful to his spot at 185.
He went on to talk about the fact that beating Luke Rockhold would mean something and put him in a great spot. None of the callouts thus far move the needle for the UFC’s seventh ranked middleweight contender.
Strickland has made it clear that he will wait it out until he gets a contender worth fighting. At this point, I would say the odds are in favor of Strickland not fighting at UFC 268.