Strickland (26-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) meets Magomedov (25-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) July 1 at a UFC Fight Night main event at the UFC Apex.
Strickland is one of the few top-ranked contenders to never face middleweight champion Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC), so he sees title implications with a win.
“If this fight goes my way, it 100 percent should be in the cards,” Strickland told My MMA News. “I f*cking had a close decision with f*cking – what the f*ck was that guy’s name? Jared Cannonier, you knocked some brain cells out of me. Solid guy. Thought I won on the scorecards, but it is what it is. I truly believe I should be the one fighting Izzy, but I lost fair and square. I’ll pay my tenants. I’ll get some Ws, but yeah, that one needs to happen.”
Strickland being matched up with Magomedov came as a surprise, considering Magomedov has only one octagon win. Strickland admits it’s not the fight he expected but said no top contender wanted to fight him.
“It should have been me and Costa, for sure, hands down,” Strickland said. “I had no fights. They asked a couple top-10 guys. I’m not gonna say any names, but they all said no. So, the UFC gave me a choice, you sit on the bench for like six months until somebody opens up or you f*cking fight, and I said I want to fight. Let’s make some money.”
Adesanya is targeting his next title defense for the UFC 293 card on Sept. 10 in Sydney. The middleweight fight between former champion Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290 on July 8 was dubbed as a No. 1 contender fight by UFC president Dana White, but Strickland hopes he can stake his claim one week prior.