Sean Strickland blames ‘awkward’ UFC 302 fight on Paulo Costa: ‘What the f*ck are we doing here?’

NEWARK, N.J. – Sean Strickland is the first to admit his decision win over Paulo Costa wasn’t a very entertaining fight.

The former UFC middleweight champion was critical of the way things played out in his co-main event bout at UFC 302 on Saturday. Strickland (29-6 MMA, 16-6 UFC) was happy to get his hand raised and bounce back from his championship loss earlier this year, but was disappointed to not give fans a war. He believes it mainly came down to Costa (14-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC).

“It was awkward, man. It was like a weird fight,” Strickland told reporters at the UFC 302 post-fight press conference. “There was a moment where I stopped being in my fight stance and I just started walking forward like, ‘What the f*ck are we doing here?'”

Strickland can’t pinpoint exactly what happened with Costa that caused the lackluster fight. His guess is that Costa, who has a history of putting on Fight of the Night performances, was just not up for fighting that night.

“He did land calf kicks, but for every one calf kick he landed, I landed like five teeps,” Strickland said. “His stomach showed more damage than my calf did. It was just a weird f*cking fight, man. I don’t know what was going on with Costa. I think Costa maybe just wanted to be friends. I don’t know.

“… You can never tell how good somebody is until they fight somebody good. I think there was that moment where every time Costa was like, ‘I’m going to fight this man,’ he gets stuck in that phase like, ‘I don’t think I want to fight this man today.’ So I think a lot of it just is you never know how good somebody is until they fight somebody good, and that’s what you saw there.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie