Sean Strickland’s Coach Targets Jared Cannonier as Next Opponent Due to Believing It’s the ‘Most Favorable Matchup’

Michael Bisping thinks Eric Nicksick is tactically targeting Jared Cannonier for Sean Strickland’s first title defense.

Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) came up big as an underdog when he dethroned middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) in a definitive unanimous decision win this past Saturday at UFC 293.

Strickland’s most recent loss came in a split decision to Cannonier (17-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC), when “The Killa Gorilla” edged him out in a five-round battle this past December. In a recent interview with The Schmo, Nicksick made a case for Cannonier to be next in line, and Bisping says there’s a reason for that.

“Sean Strickland’s coach, he wants the next person to be Jared Cannonier,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “He says, UFC obviously whatever they’re going to do, they’re going to do, but I said Jared Cannonier for a number of reasons. No. 1, he did beat us. Now of course, it was a split decision, but on that record, we got beat, and I think there were things that we didn’t do correctly in that fight that caused us to lose.’”

Outside of an Adesanya rematch, Strickland has options. There’s Cannonier, who called out Strickland for a title-shot rematch. Also campaigning for a shot is Dricus Du Plessis, as well as a pivotal middleweight clash between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa which takes place at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.

But out of all the options, Bisping respectfully thinks Cannonier is being viewed as the easiest one for Strickland.

“Don’t take this the wrong way if you hear this, Mr. Eric Nicksick. It seems like they’re trying to pick him because, I don’t know, it was a split decision,” Bisping said. “A lot of people thought Sean Strickland won that fight, right, and Khamzat Chimaev is an absolute monster.

“Dricus Du Plessis is an absolute monster, and you never know. That might be the easiest fight, and that sounds insulting to Jared Cannonier. I’m not being insulting. What I’m saying is, they know they had a really close fight.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 293.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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