Is Sean Strickland vs. Robert Whittaker next? Coach Eric Nicksick believes that is the fight to make

Sean StricklandXtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick likes the idea of Sean Strickland stepping inside the Octagon with another former middleweight…

Sean Strickland

Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick likes the idea of Sean Strickland stepping inside the Octagon with another former middleweight champion — Robert Whittaker.

After pulling off a stunning upset against Israel Adesanya in September to claim the 185-pound crown, Strickland surrendered the title to Dricus Du Plessis in his first defense at UFC 297. A month later, Whittaker bounced back following a second-round knockout loss against DDP by outworking one-time title challenger Paulo Costa at UFC 298 in Anaheim.

Asked about a potential meeting between the former champions, Nicksick had plenty of positive things to say about ‘The Reaper’ and his impressive middleweight run over the years.

“It’s a great fight,” Nicksick told MMA Junkie Radio. “I still think Robert’s the most talented from top to bottom in the division, in my opinion. I think he has the most skill set and is the most dangerous. I’ve always been a huge fan of Robert Whittaker. I’ve stolen a lot of techniques off of him, things that he’s done.

“I’ve seen him in the locker room, warming up, doing things that I put in my database and taken for good reason. I think he’s one of the best 185ers to ever do it, and I think had it not been for Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker would have been holding that belt for a long period of time.”

Over the last year, Strickland has emerged as the promotion’s most polarizing figure. In turn, his star power has skyrocketed, making him a beloved figure among fight fans all over the world and Nicksick has no problem with ‘Tarzan’ staying active to capitalize on his growing popularity.

“He’s a prize fighter, and I think money talks,” Nicksick said. “So, he’s in a position where he can maximize on his value in the situation that he’s in, then why not? Why not go fight? He hasn’t been taking a whole lot of damage other than the Alex Pereira fight, so he’s relatively healthy. He’s still back in the room, he’s still training hard, he’s doing everything he’s supposed to do.”

Sean Strickland and Robert Whittaker currently occupy the No. 1 and No. 3 spots in the middleweight top 10.

Sean Strickland’s coach hints live betting odds affected coaching advice ahead of UFC 297 title fight loss

Sean Strickland's coach claims live betting may have affected corner advice in UFC 297 title lossSean Strickland’s coach Eric Nicksick breaks down his judging during Strickland’s title fight against Dricus Du Plessis.  The UFC…

Sean Strickland's coach claims live betting may have affected corner advice in UFC 297 title loss

Sean Strickland’s coach Eric Nicksick breaks down his judging during Strickland’s title fight against Dricus Du Plessis. 

The UFC 297 main event between Du Plessis and Strickland ended in a bloody and completive five rounds. Du Plessis would end up having his hand raised and while some agreed, there was a large portion of fans who believe Strickland should have retained his title. 

Strickland would put out a statement believing that he had won the fight, which in fairness was incredibly close. 

Eric Nicksick reveals live betting odds could have swayed advice to Sean Strickland

Appearing on The Anik & Florian Podcast, Nicksick discussed the judging of the fight and revealed that the live odds could have swayed him into believing Sean Strickland had won rounds one and two.

“I initially thought we won rounds one and two,” Nicksick revealed. “Two being close, I didn’t know how they were going to score the takedowns, but I gotta admit, like, what kind of messed me up was I looked down at the apron, and they show the live odds, like the graphic on the- so I looked down and I saw, you know, we were -200 after the first round, minus -325 after the second round. I might be wrong, but I remember seeing the odds being in our favour.” (H/T MMA News)

“I’m like ‘Okay, so, if there’s people in the world that know what they saw, it’s people with money on it,” Nicksick continued. “You would think, So it reiterated my thoughts that we won round one and two. Again, this is MMA, it could change at any moment.”

Nicksick is a straight shooter, and while he cares for his fighters out of Xtreme Couture the 44-year-old is logical and honest. It’s commendable to see Nicksick discuss this kind of thing and show what makes him such a successful coach. 

It’s not clear what exactly Strickland will do next but a rematch does not seem out of the question. 

How did you score Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis?

Sean Strickland’s coach hints live betting odds affected coaching advice ahead of UFC 297 title fight loss

Sean Strickland's coach claims live betting may have affected corner advice in UFC 297 title lossSean Strickland’s coach Eric Nicksick breaks down his judging during Strickland’s title fight against Dricus Du Plessis.  The UFC…

Sean Strickland's coach claims live betting may have affected corner advice in UFC 297 title loss

Sean Strickland’s coach Eric Nicksick breaks down his judging during Strickland’s title fight against Dricus Du Plessis. 

The UFC 297 main event between Du Plessis and Strickland ended in a bloody and completive five rounds. Du Plessis would end up having his hand raised and while some agreed, there was a large portion of fans who believe Strickland should have retained his title. 

Strickland would put out a statement believing that he had won the fight, which in fairness was incredibly close. 

Eric Nicksick reveals live betting odds could have swayed advice to Sean Strickland

Appearing on The Anik & Florian Podcast, Nicksick discussed the judging of the fight and revealed that the live odds could have swayed him into believing Sean Strickland had won rounds one and two.

“I initially thought we won rounds one and two,” Nicksick revealed. “Two being close, I didn’t know how they were going to score the takedowns, but I gotta admit, like, what kind of messed me up was I looked down at the apron, and they show the live odds, like the graphic on the- so I looked down and I saw, you know, we were -200 after the first round, minus -325 after the second round. I might be wrong, but I remember seeing the odds being in our favour.” (H/T MMA News)

“I’m like ‘Okay, so, if there’s people in the world that know what they saw, it’s people with money on it,” Nicksick continued. “You would think, So it reiterated my thoughts that we won round one and two. Again, this is MMA, it could change at any moment.”

Nicksick is a straight shooter, and while he cares for his fighters out of Xtreme Couture the 44-year-old is logical and honest. It’s commendable to see Nicksick discuss this kind of thing and show what makes him such a successful coach. 

It’s not clear what exactly Strickland will do next but a rematch does not seem out of the question. 

How did you score Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis?

Israel Adesanya claims coach saved Sean Strickland’s life with corner advice in UFC 293 title defeat

Israel Adesanya claims coach saved Sean Strickland life at UFC 293 lossFormer two-time undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya had heaped praise on the coaching ability of Xtreme Couture head coach, Eric Nicksick following his title loss to his student, Sean Strickland at UFC 293 last weekend, claiming corner advice instructed by him helped “save” the challenger’s life.  Adesanya, a former two-time undisputed middleweight champion under the […]

Israel Adesanya claims coach saved Sean Strickland life at UFC 293 loss

Former two-time undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya had heaped praise on the coaching ability of Xtreme Couture head coach, Eric Nicksick following his title loss to his student, Sean Strickland at UFC 293 last weekend, claiming corner advice instructed by him helped “save” the challenger’s life. 

Adesanya, a former two-time undisputed middleweight champion under the banner of the organization, suffered his second championship loss in less than a year, dropping a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) loss to Covina native, Strickland over the course of five one-sided rounds in Sydney, Australia.

As for Strickland, the shocking upset victory came as his first in a championship bout under the banner of the Dana White-led promotion, headlining his first pay-per-view event since joining the UFC to boot.

Israel Adesanya claims Sean Strickland’s head coach saved his life at UFC 293

And according to Nicksick, Adesanya informed him immediately after his title loss, that he managed to save Strickland’s life with his corner advice throughout the bout, with Nicksick noting Adesanya’s intention to setup a high-kick effort which he managed to read.

“Izzy (Israel Adesanya) came up to me and said, ‘You saved (Sean Strickland’s) life,” Eric Nicksick told Morning Kombat during a recent interview. “‘You kept calling out my reads.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, because I saw what you were setting up.’ He (Israel Adesanya) would throw his southpaw cross at Sean’s right hand and Sean would parry it down. I yell to Sean, ‘Bro, he’s going to same-side head kcik you.’ It’s going to come right behind it.”

Urging critics of his to “delight in my [his] demise” off the back of his title loss to Strickland at UFC 293 last weekend, Adesanya has been lined up for an immediate championship rematch with the newly-crowned champion, with head coach, Eugene Bareman claiming a bout could take place as soon as December of this year

Do you want to see Israel Adesanya rematch Sean Strickland next?

Francis Ngannou’s coach addresses MMA future if he defeats Tyson Fury: ‘He has more to accomplish’

Francis NgannouAfter climbing to the top of the mixed martial arts world, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will test his mettle in the squared circle on October 28. ‘The Predator’ will head to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for his highly anticipated professional boxing debut. Meeting him in the ring is perhaps the greatest competitor […]

Francis Ngannou

After climbing to the top of the mixed martial arts world, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will test his mettle in the squared circle on October 28.

‘The Predator’ will head to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for his highly anticipated professional boxing debut. Meeting him in the ring is perhaps the greatest competitor in the history of the sport, Tyson Fury. Understandably, Francis Ngannou will go into the bout as a decided underdog, but with the kind of power that the Cameroonian possesses, he most definitely has a puncher’s chance of shocking the world and planting ‘The Gypsy King’ six feet under the canvas.

But should that highly unlikely scenario become a reality, what’s next? Currently, Francis Ngannou is expected to make his return to MMA in 2024 under the PFL banner, but could a win over Fury delay those plans or nix them altogether? Ngannou’s coach, Eric Nicksick, says that is a bridge they’ll cross once they get to it.

“I guess we’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” Ngannou’s head coach Eric Nicksick told MMA Fighting. “[Financially] he can lose to Tyson Fury and never have to fight again. Who knows.”

Even if Francis Ngannou manages to hand Tyson Fury his first career loss in the sweet science, Nicksick is confident that ‘The Predator’ will return to the cage as he still has much more to accomplish in the sport.

“I’m hoping that he wins this fight and I feel he has so much more to accomplish in MMA, just from what he’s been building with his skill set,” Nicksick explained. “As long as he’s enjoying it and he’s having fun, I think he’ll come back.”

Eric Nicksick Reveals the Key to the Evolution of Francis Ngannou

Making things fun has been a big key to Francis Ngannou’s success according to Nicksick. When Ngannou first made his presence known at Xtreme Couture, everyone knew he was something special, but he still had a lot of work ahead if he wanted to become a bonafide superstar. That was ever-present in his first meeting with general consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic at UFC 220. For 25 minutes, Miocic relentlessly pursued takedowns and pummeled ‘The Predator’ on the ground, exposing a glaring hole in Ngannou’s game.

Since then, Ngannou has rounded out his skill set. Talking about his evolution, Eric Nicksick revealed that it was all about making it fun for ‘The Predator’ during subsequent training sessions to fill that gap.

“We made it fun for him,” Nicksick said. “When we first started talking about the wrestling element, you think about your deficiencies and that takes a tax on your mental state. Our mindset was to make it fun for him and make it offensive, and especially when it comes to wrestling, if you’re working on offensive wrestling, inherently you’re going to work on defensive wrestling.

“What we had to do was flip the script and make it more fun for him. So when he’s taking guys down and beating guys up, you can see that he had a new tool. It made it a lot more fun.”

Francis Ngannou has since showed off his ground game, utilizing it to defend the UFC heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane in what would be his final fight with the promotion.

Following the win, Ngannou was shelved for more than a year after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.

“At the end of the day, with what he’s been developing in the room with MMA, he said to me a few times — and this was after we got him back in the room after knee surgery — he’s like, ‘I really love what I’m doing in MMA,’” Nicksick relayed. “[He told me,] ‘I love the sport now, I love all the aspects with all the takedowns and everything else.’”

Francis Ngannou ‘Most intrigued’ by Deontay Wilder fight following UFC departure: ‘That’s what he wants to do’

Francis Ngannou Deontay Wilder Boxing Fight UFCFormer UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou appears to be most interested in making an immediate transition to professional boxing following his departure from the promotion last month, according to his head coach, Eric Nicksick, who also claimed a clash with former WBC champion, Deontay Wilder has piqued his interest.  Ngannou, a former undisputed UFC heavyweight […]

Francis Ngannou Deontay Wilder Boxing Fight UFC

Former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou appears to be most interested in making an immediate transition to professional boxing following his departure from the promotion last month, according to his head coach, Eric Nicksick, who also claimed a clash with former WBC champion, Deontay Wilder has piqued his interest. 

Ngannou, a former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, officially departed the organization last month following the completion of his contractual obligations on December 9. last. And in the time since, has been linked with an immediate transition to the squared circle.

Amongst potential opponents for the Cameroon knockout artist; WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, as well as former heavyweight kingpin, Anthony Joshua, however, the aforenoted Tucasloosa native, Wilder has offered to twice fight Francis Ngannou – first in boxing then in mixed martial arts competition. 

Francis Ngannou weighing up fight with Deontay Wilder

And after welcoming a fight with Wilder, Ngannou, who claimed he would only take a boxing matchup with the former in a bid to allow him to “keep his limbs” – the Cameroon punchers appears most interested in a fight with a former WBC titleholder.

We spoke all last week on probably doing boxing first,” Eric Nicksick said of Francis Ngannou’s future during an appearance on MMA Junkie Radio. “That sounds like what he wants to do. We were talking about some different boxing trainers we might try to bring in, locations of where he might try to go, the opportunity to maybe fight (Deontay) Wilder. Anthony Joshua’s been a name.

I’ve heard Tyson Fury. I’ve heard Andy Ruiz. I’ve heard all these different names kind of pop up,” Nicksick explained. “But the one that sounds like the most intriguing to Francis has been definitely the Wilder fight. So we’ll see how this transpires and what’s gonna happen, but I’m just glad to have him home and back in the gym.” 

Last year, Wilder returned to the winner’s enclosure following a two-fight losing skid against Tyson Fury – stopping Robert Helenius with a thunderous first round knockout in Brooklyn, New York.