Jack Hermansson believes he has all the weapons in his arsenal to get the better of heavy-hitting American Sean Strickland ahead of their middleweight headliner event at UFC Vegas 47 on Saturday.

“Most people see me as grappler and that is obviously where I excel. My greatest skills are definitely on the ground. But at the same time, I have been preparing a lot for Sean’s stand-up. He is not an easy guy to take down, so I need to be prepared as well. I feel like I am the quicker fighter, I am more precise, I have more truth than him and I think that is going to be enough to get the victory.”

However, ‘The Joker’ expects a tough fight from Strickland, who is coming off a five-match winning streak in the UFC. “I know that Sean wants to climb all the way to the top, as do I. He always brings the same look into his fights. He goes forward, he puts on the pressure. That’s his style of fighting and I expect nothing less on Saturday night,” he said.

Ranked sixth in the middleweight division – one higher than his American opponent – Hermansson is surprised but not concerned about heading into the fight as the underdog. “I am a little bit surprised; I wouldn’t think that was the case. But at the same time, I am always giving everything I have into a fight, and it is not going to be anything different if I am the favourite or the underdog,” the 33-year-old said.

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A former Greco-Roman wrestler, Hermansson has his eye on countering boxing specialist Strickland’s strong striking game. “I have been trying to get some sparring partners to get them to emulate and look like Sean Strickland on my training.”

Gunning for a shot at the title himself, Hermansson picked Israel Adesanya over Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title rematch scheduled for February 12 at UFC 271. “I am a huge fan of both fighters. But I prefer Israel just because I think if Robert wins, there’s going to be a third fight and that’s going to make the whole division stand still. I really hope Israel gets the victory so that he can go on and take on another challenger,” the Swedish-born Norwegian said.

Known for carrying both the Swedish and Norwegian flags to his bouts, Hermansson described himself as “a Swede living in Norway” and said he had strong bonds with both countries.

“I am a guy from Sweden, living in Norway and representing both countries. I grew up in Sweden, I have all my family there, my siblings, my mother, and my upbringing also has been in Sweden. So, I am always going to feel Swedish. Currently training in Oslo and having lived in Norway since becoming a mixed martial artist, he also considers himself a “Norwegian MMA product.”

Watch UFC Fight Night - Hermansson vs Strickland LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English) & SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) channels on February 6th 2022 from 5:30 AM IST