Sean Strickland explains why he was robbed by Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297: “I won that fight”

UFC 297 featured a main event showdown between Dricus du Plessis and Sean Strickland that went the full five rounds. The closely contested fight, with opinions split on a potential 3-2 outcome either way, concluded with du Plessis emerging victorious through a split decision. In the co-main event, Raquel Pennington secured a win via unanimous decision, claiming the vacant women’s bantamweight title.

With the victory, du Plessis became the fourth African champion in UFC history behind Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, and Francis Ngannou. Nonetheless, controversy started pouring in after the fight with both fighters throwing shade at each other on social media.

Sean Strickland explains why he won Dricus du Plessis fight

Sean Strickland fought valiantly at UFC 297 and was gracious in defeat inside the octagon, but his demeanor changed soon after. The American took to Instagram to criticize du Plessis for an alleged headbutt which he believed changed the course of the fight. Strickland shared a post featuring a picture of his stitched eyelid and a video clip highlighting the moment when the headbutt took place.

“I didn’t take the cowards way out and tell the doctor I couldn’t see and got a no contest…. The only reason why you took a round from me is because I couldn’t see..”, Strickland captioned his Instagram post blaming the headbutt as the sole reason for the loss.

“I won that fight, the world knows I won that fight……. The belt they gave you will never make you a champion, enjoy….”, Strickland went on to state that he actually won the fight and even went on to say that the public opinion was also in favor of Strickland.

Afterward, Strickland shared another post, initially posted by ESPN MMA, revealing the significant strike count per round in his bout with du Plessis. According to the stats, Strickland surpassed du Plessis in significant strikes in every round except the second. Despite Strickland’s advantage in rounds 1 and 5, rounds 2 and 3 showed a nearly equal distribution of significant strikes.

Dricus du Plessis fires back at Sean Strickland’s claims

Sean Strickland’s Instagram post did not go unnoticed by Dricus du Plessis as he immediately responded with a comment on the post.

Du Plessis retorted, “Why don’t you cry about it… AGAIN,” alluding to a previous occasion when Strickland had an emotional breakdown on Theo Von’s podcast, This Past Weekend.

Du Plessis was earlier asked about the headbutt at the post-fight press conference by one of the media members. “No, I can’t say that I did,” du Plessis said at the time. “It’s the first time I’m hearing of it. No, I didn’t feel a head butt during the fight. No, I can’t remember any head butt,” du Plessis further added.

It’s important to highlight that UFC CEO Dana White addressed the closely contested nature of the fight during the post-fight press conference. White expressed his view that he believed the fight was tied at 2-2 going into the fifth round, with Strickland ultimately winning the fifth round. However, the prevailing sentiment within the UFC community was that du Plessis secured a 3-2 victory.

Dricus du Plessis learned of White’s remarks, which he labeled as ‘bullshit.’ However, White expressed disinterest in an immediate rematch and hinted at a potential matchup between Israel Adesanya and du Plessis. The South African had already issued a challenge to Adesanya during his post-fight speech. Adesanya responded on Instagram, even poking fun at Sean Strickland’s four-month title reign.

What do you think of Sean Strickland’s statements about the headbutt? Leave your thoughts below!


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