Thursday, June 23, 2022

Woodley: Northcutt & VanZant Prove UFC Pushes Fighters Too Quick

Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley thinks fighters like Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant paid the price for being rushed to the spotlight.

Woodley made a name for himself as the UFC welterweight champion, defeating Robbie Lawler for the belt before earning successful title defenses against the likes of Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson.

While Woodley’s best MMA days may be behind him, he remains one of the most vocal personalities in the sport. He isn’t afraid to speak his mind especially when it comes to issues involving the UFC.

During a recent appearance on The Residency Podcast, Woodley gave his thoughts on how the UFC promotes young talent.

“They (UFC) force feed. What happened when you forced Sage Northcutt on us? … No shade, that’s my homie, but they pressed him too quick. He wasn’t ready. I was his training partner, I’m telling you, he wasn’t ready,” Woodley admitted. “He would’ve been great, he could’ve been a champion. He gave me many, many ass-whoopings in the gym. But then he couldn’t take when somebody went to submit him. He couldn’t take pressure. If he couldn’t get right up, it would frustrate him. That was the thing that me and my coach wanted to work with him on. Because he was so young.

“So, Sage, Paige VanZant, all these people they wanted us to be like, ‘This is the person,’ but they gotta still win. What happens when you fuck around and you blow somebody up to ‘this is the person’ and they lose, to Charlie Oliveira. You may want Gaethje there because he doesn’t give a fuck and just says crazy shit, but he may not be able to fuck with Charlie Oliveira. The sport is the sport.”

One exception to Woodley’s points is Khamzat Chimaev. The welterweight star has catapulted to the title hunt after just a few wins, including most recently against former title challenger Gilbert Burns.

VanZant recently made her professional wrestling debut in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and is also signed to Bare Knuckle FC. VanZant went 5-4 during her UFC run.

Northcutt most recently competed against Cosmo Alexandre in ONE Championship back in May 2019. During his UFC career, he went 6-2, with both losses coming by submission.

Woodley feels that the career trajectories of fighters like VanZant and Northcutt would’ve gone a different direction had they taken the Sean O’Malley route with a slow, methodical path to a title.

Do you agree with Tyron Woodley’s comments about Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant?

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