Jack Hermansson plans to defeat Sean Strickland and give the UFC fans the chance to see a fresh matchup for the promotion’s middleweight title.
Hermansson takes on Strickland in the main event of UFC Vegas 47 on Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and the former Cage Warriors champion says he’s within striking distance of a shot at the title currently held by Israel Adesanya.
“I’m always trying to find my way up there,” Hermansson told reporters during media day in Las Vegas.
“You have a couple of guys that are fighting, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes, but I feel with a great win here, I’m putting myself next in line.”
The title will be contested at UFC 271, where Adesanya will face off against the man he defeated to win the belt, former champ Robert Whittaker, in a championship rematch. No. 3-ranked Jared Cannonier and No. 4-ranked Derek Brunson are also scheduled to face off on the same card.
The general thought is that the winner of the Cannonier-Brunson matchup should be in pole position for the next title shot post-UFC 271. But Hermansson sees a scenario where he can jump the queue and put himself next in line to fight for gold.
“(If) I do a good enough performance, you know, and then it depends on the other contenders,” he said.
“Brunson, Cannonier, how will they perform? Are they going to do an exciting fight or not?
“We have had a lot of rematches just lately. Vettori against Adesanya. Now Whittaker against Adesanya. Do we want to see Brunson against Adesanya? I’m not sure. You know, I think people want to see Jack Hermansson and Adesanya.”
For that matchup to become a reality, Hermansson needs to get the job done against Strickland on Saturday night. The American has attracted plenty of headlines in the MMA space for his controversial utterings over the last 12 months or so, but his willingness to shoot from the lip has somewhat overshadowed his impressive form.
Strickland is on a five-fight win streak, with victories over Jack Marshman, Brendan Allen, Krzysztof Jotko and Uriah Hall giving him significant momentum heading into 2022. It’s a run of form that demands respect, and Hermansson knows the task he has in front of him this weekend.
“He’s a guy who has a great record, and in middleweights, he’s undefeated,” Hermansson said.
“He looks great. Great win streak, so you’ve got to give it to him. He’s a guy that always comes forward, full pressure, and most people seem to have trouble handling that.”
For his part, Hermansson has alternated wins and losses over his past five fights, with wins over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Kelvin Gastelum and Edmen Shahbazyan offset by defeats to Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier.
His most recent outing saw him claim a unanimous decision win over Shahbazyan, and “The Joker” said he’s ready to produce an attention-grabbing performance on Saturday night.
“You’re always trying to do your best, but I visualize it. It’s in my mind,” he said.
“I don’t want to do a tough, long, grueling fight against Sean Strickland. I want to have a perfect performance, so precision, perfection, early, nice, clean victory.
“Dominance. That’s what I’m looking for.”