Where Did the ‘DeSean Strickland’ Meme Come From? All We Know About the UFC Champ’s Unofficial Nickname

Published 01/18/2024, 12:55 AM EST

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Sean Strickland has cemented himself as one of the most colorful personalities in the world of MMA today. ‘Tarzan’ is popular (and controversial) among fans for his candid statements, his unabashed personality, and his trash talk towards his opponents. And with his stunning upset over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 last year, he secured the UFC middleweight championship, adding to his ever-increasing popularity!

However, the fighter has also found himself being ‘memed’ by the community for his appearance as ‘D’Sean Strickland’. Let’s take a look and explore the meme’s origins and what led to Strickland becoming a source of amusement for the fans!

The story behind Sean Strickland and his meme status  


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Sean Strickland made his UFC debut at UFC 171 in 2014. Before joining the promotion, Strickland fought in the ‘King of the Cage’ organization where he secured the KOTC middleweight championship. After making his way to the UFC, Strickland demonstrated that he is an elite fighter, as he secured wins over notable names like Brendan Allen and Uriah Hall.

The ‘DeSean Strickland’ meme originated from a video shared by his teammates and an interview Strickland did with ‘The Schmo’ on YouTube. Inspired by hip-hop culture, the meme playfully portrays Strickland wearing a black durag, holding a bottle of liquor, and sporting a cigar behind his ear.


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Therefore, the fans created a meme of Strickland from the video and dubbed him ‘DeSean’ as a reference to hip-hop culture where the durag was popularized by artists like Jay-Z, Nelly, and 50 Cent. Despite the humor and amusement generated by the meme, Strickland’s achievements inside the Octagon continue to solidify his status as a top-tier fighter.

But in the build-up to his fight against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297, Strickland has received backlash from the online community for his verbal jabs against his opponent. As such, the middleweight champion recently provided his perspective on how he feels about the criticism!

 Watch This Story:  TW Watch: Sean Strickland Threatens To Stab Dricus Du Plessis If UFC Star Brings Up His Abusive Father In Trash Talk 

Strickland reveals his thoughts on receiving criticism online

Sean Strickland recently responded to accusations of hypocrisy by dismissing the online hate he has received. He made it clear that he doesn’t invest time in what people say about him on the internet.


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In a candid statement at a pre-fight press conference, Strickland conveyed that being liked or disliked by the public doesn’t concern him. He expressed, “Do you think I give a f*ck? Do you think I give a f*ck if I walk down the street and someone says, ‘There’s Sean Strickland. F*ck him.’ I don’t care.”

USA Today via Reuters

The UFC champion also added a warning, suggesting that if someone insults him within arm’s reach, he is ready to respond physically. In a direct and unapologetic manner, Strickland differentiated himself from other fighters like Colby Covington, stating that he won’t delete his Twitter and is prepared to face criticism openly.


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As the controversy surrounding Strickland’s comments unfolds, the champion is gearing up for his title defense against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297. This high-stakes bout marks Strickland’s first attempt at defending his title since claiming victory over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in September.

 Read More: “There’s the Beef Behind…” – Maxx Crosby Defends Sean Strickland Against Dricus Du Plessis Ahead of UFC 297


Written by:

Dushyant Patni


One take at a time

I am Dushyant Patni, a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. My passion for Mixed Martial Arts started because my father used to be a boxer and a martial arts fanatic. It passed down to me as my first pair of boxing gloves were his old ones! Prior to joining EssentiallySports, I honed my writing and editing skills across various organizations as a writer and an editor.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen