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Sean Strickland, one of the most outspoken competitors in all of mixed martial arts, is keen to let bygones be bygones in his rivalry with Dricus du Plessis.

The two middleweights are set to clash in this weekend’s UFC 297 main event fight in Toronto, Canada — a fight which just weeks ago seemed to have been steeped in bad blood after prior comments involving the two came to a head at last month’s UFC 296 when they threw down in the crowd after being inexplicably seated near one another.

But after mending fences — they warmly greeted each other at the fighter hotel this week as captured by the ‘UFC Embedded’ cameras — the two appeared to be on closer terms at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference, as Strickland outlined exactly why he believes the South African poses a bigger risk to him than former champion Israel Adesanya did last year.

“Here’s the thing about Dricus, he ain’t f*cking Izzy — Dricus likes to fight,” Strickland said, flanked by Dana White and representatives of the UFC’s security team. “He likes to fight and he’s a hell of a fighter. Do you know what that means? We’re going to be dick to dick, nipple to nipple in that range f*cking fighting.

“I hope after we’re done, win or lose, we’re f*cking bloody and we put on a show for you f*cking guys,” he said, before addressing the crowd directly. “Applaud him and encourage him. Because we want a f*cking war!”

Strickland, after commending Du Plessis for comments which he said made him “lose character”, offered a handshake to his opponent.

“Real talk you guys, me and Dricus, we’re going to try to f*cking kill each other for you guys,” Strickland said. “Dricus, can I get an agreement to the f*cking death? To the f*cking death! Goddamn respect him for that.”

This odd, somewhat tense alliance will be suspended for at least the duration of their main event on Saturday night.