“Sparred him once and almost put him out”

Sean Strickland once called out Luke Rockhold, after the former middleweight champ withdrew from their scheduled bout back in 2021.

Strickland and Rockhold were set to collide at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden, New York. The bout was billed as Rockhold’s anticipated return to the octagon, as he hadn’t fought for the UFC since 2019.

Despite the anticipation surrounding the fight, Rockhold announced that a back injury would force him out of the bout against ‘Tarzan’. Strickland was understandably frustrated at the news, as the withdrawal would force him off one of the biggest cards of the year.

Sean Strickland would later reveal, however, that he had expected the fight not to go ahead. ‘Tarzan’ also claimed that he had previously sparred Luke Rockhold and almost laid him out on the canvas. He wrote on Instagram:

“He was never going to make it to the fight lmao… no one is suprised.”

“I sparred him once and almost put him out.. didn’t even spar the second round, walked out of the gym lmao… I knew this wasn’t happening.”

Rockhold would later return to the octagon in 2022 and instead face fan favorite middleweight Paulo Costa. The two men went to war in a highly entertaining bout at UFC 278, which saw ‘Borrachinha’ get the nod via unanimous decision. Their clash would also prove to be Rockhold’s last in the UFC.

Dan Hooker weighs in on Israel Adesanya versus Sean Strickland

Israel Adesanya is set to defend his middleweight title against Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia. The bout marks Adesanya’s first title defence of his second reign as champ, whereas Strickland is fighting for UFC gold for the first time.

With seemingly everybody weighing in and casting their predictions for the middleweight clash, Dan Hooker also opted to give his two cents about the fight. Speaking to TheMacLife, ‘The Hangman’ stated that he believes Strickland has little to no chance against his City Kickboxing teammate. Hooker explained:

“He (Sean Strickland) just doesn’t have the skill set, like, It’s a bad stylistic matchup, it’s a guy who overreacts and bites on everything. He’s a guy who overreacts to like, everything. Against a guy who is, drawing reactions out, Israel is the guy who’s the best at getting any guy to do what he wants them to do, the best puppet master…that’s the true secret to his power. It’s the puppet master versus the ultimate puppet.”

Catch Dan Hooker’s comments here (6:00):

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