With his position one spot outside the 185-pound top five, Hermansson will be hoping to jump closer to a title shot when he enters the Octagon for the first time this year.
Having fallen short of doing so in a headliner versus Marvin Vettori in late 2020, “The Joker” got back on track last May with a comfortable decision triumph over the once-highly-touted prospect Edmen Shahbazyan. Since then, Hermansson has been watching matchups unfold and waiting for his next foe.
That rival has come in the form of outspoken and controversial hard-hitter Strickland. The pair will close out Saturday’s UFC Vegas 47 card inside Las Vegas’ Apex facility, with a place in the championship conversation at stake.
Fans Urge Hermansson To “Kill This Dude!”
It’s fair to say that in his 28-fight career, Hermansson hasn’t come up against an opponent like Strickland. The Swedish-born Norwegian couldn’t be more different than his American counterpart when it comes to personality and voice.
With Strickland’s antics, which have split opinions among fans, pundits, and fighters, it’s no surprise a portion of the MMA community want to see the #7-ranked middleweight beaten. That sentiment has apparently been clear in the DMs of Hermansson.
During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the 33-year-old claimed the wave of support and backing he’s received ahead of his contest with Strickland is like nothing he’s experienced before in the UFC.
“I was actually suggesting Sean Strickland (as an opponent),” said Hermansson. “Because he’s ranked one behind me, and he’s on a good win streak. I think he’s undefeated in the middleweight division, and he has some hype right now… He’s a little bit different [LAUGHS].
“I’ve seen (his interviews) and he’s a funny character. Some things he says might be over the line. But what I do know is that I have never faced an opponent where so many people are messaging me, writing to me, like, ‘Man, kill this dude! You have to win this!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m always trying to win fights.’ People wanna see him go down, that’s for sure,” concluded Hermansson.
While the pair may differ in their fight week, social media, and interview attitudes, one thing they have in common is their talent and toughness when the cage door shuts. They’ll both look to put that on full display come Saturday night.
Who do you think will have their hand raised in the UFC Vegas 47 main event, Jack Hermansson or Sean Strickland?