Sean Strickland ‘Triggered’ by Dricus du Plessis brawl ahead of UFC 297 fight: ‘You can’t get too emotional’

Sean Strickland closing as betting favorite to beat Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297 in Canada

Undisputed middleweight champion, Sean Strickland’s head coach, Eric Nicksick has admitted his trainee was admittedly “triggered” by his brawl and pre-fight trash talk with incoming foe, Dricus du Plessis ahead of their UFC 297 title fight – claiming the former cannot allow himself to become too emotional amid the developing rivarly.

Strickland, the current undisputed middleweight champion, is scheduled to make his return to the Octagon at UFC 297 in January, taking on surging promotional-perfect contender, du Plessis in Canada, in his first attempted defense of the divisional title.

Sharing the stage with the Pretoria native ahead of their title fight at a 2024 seasonal press conference earlier this month, Strickland’s childhood and relationship with his late father were the subject of interest from opponent, du Plessis, leading to a tense verbal battle between the duo. 

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Sean Strickland “triggered” by Dricus du Plessis brawl

However, seated within arm’s reach at UFC 296 on fighter’s row, Strickland jumped du Plessis in the crowd, resulting in a brawl, with the defending middleweight champion escorted backstage afterwards.

And according to Strickland’s head coach, Xtreme Couture mastermind, Nicksick, his student has been “triggered” and affected by the altercation and verbal barbs fired at him.

“There’s two sides to that coin: Sean (Strickland) has no problem saying what he says about everybody else, so people are going to probably poke and say things about him, as well,” Nicksick told MMA Junkie Radio about Sean Strickland. “I think it’s a tough row to [hoe], so you can’t get too emotional about those situations.”

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“They are just words, but at the end of the day, I did feel like he (Sean Strickland) was triggered and there was a few days where it just kind of motivated him.” 

Who wins at UFC 297: Sean Strickland or Dricus du Plessis?