When MMAWeekly.com last spoke to current King of the Cage middleweight champion Sean “Tarzan” Strickland, he was just coming off a win over veteran Bill Albrecht in February. Looking back over the bout, Strickland feels it was evolutionary point in his career.
“Mentally I don’t think I was ready for the higher competition, but that fight really stepped me up,” said Strickland. “I’ve noticed in my recent fights that it’s not so much my skill level or cardio, it’s more my mental preparation that has been excelling more than my skill.”
Since his win over Albrecht, Strickland has won two more fights, raising his record to 13-0, making him one of MMA’s top 185-pound prospects.
While his most recent win over Matt Lagler in August ended in a first-round TKO, it was the fight prior, against Yasuke Sakashita in July, that Strickland feels a greater sense of accomplishment about.
“My last one (against Lagler) wasn’t that hard, but the one before it (against Sakashita) was one of the toughest fights I’ve had,” said Strickland. “That was my first 25-minute fight and I wish more people could have seen that one.
“I think every fighter – especially when they’re first starting – has doubt in their mind about if they’re ready for the full five rounds, and I had that doubt. I’ve always trained for five rounds, but I had always wondered if it came down to it, would I be able to perform? After I did my 25 minutes and performed the whole fight through, it just clicked in my mind that I was ready and could handle it.”
Having won all his fights and owning a 77-percent finishing rate, Strickland feels he’s ready to move up in competition and see if he’s truly ready for primetime.
“It’s up in the air (what’s next),” he said. “I really want higher level competition.
“I feel like I’m ready and I’ve trained hard, so I really want to fight high-level guys. I’ve fought mid-level and okay (fighters), but now I really want to prove myself.”
(Photo courtesy of King of the Cage and Monstro Photo)