Sean Strickland is already causing headaches for Dana White in Australia ahead of Saturday’s clash against Israel Adesanya.
The middleweight title challenger found himself in a physical altercation with a fan mere hours after touching down in Sydney for UFC 293.
According to Strickland, a fan approached him on Sunday near Bondi Beach, and boldly predicted, “Izzy is gunna f*** you up,’ and the American responded by punching him in the stomach.
“Boom, right in the guts,” he told Fox Sports.
“I’d only been in Australia a day and already I’d committed an assault.
“Initially, I thought the guy was coming up for a photo. Because anybody who wants a photo, man, I love the fans.
“But if you wanna come up to me and run your f****** mouth, I’ll smack you like I smack anybody else.
“Uppercut to his stomach. Then I walked away. But if I see the guy again, man, no problems. I’ll thank him for not pressing charges.”
After watching the latest Contender Series in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the UFC president played down the scuffle, but did say he’s assigned security to Strickland to stop it from happening again.
“Do you know where the news came from that he punched a fan?” White said.
“Yeah, (the news came from him). Yeah, he’s beauty. He played it up more than whatever and was joking. The fan and him are cool.
“Going into this, I knew. I knew what this week was going to be like.
“Yes, we’re prepared for it and yes we have people around him now, so he won’t be punching people in the stomach anymore – for fun or not for fun.”
Strickland is known for his unique personality as much as his fighting skills.
The 32-year-old is a self-proclaimed former neo-Nazi who routinely knocks out sparring partners and gets himself into trouble for stepping over the line with his trash talk.
However, he is also the fifth-ranked 185lbs contender and is riding a two-fight win streak after outpointing Nassourdine Imavov and stopping Abus Magomedov in 2023.
He’ll need to put on a career-best performance to stand any chance of causing an upset against Adesanya at the Qudos Bank Arena this weekend.