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Woodley: Sage Northcutt is ‘way more well-rounded’ than expected

Tyron Woodley connects with a right to Jay Hieron during their UFC 156 welterweight mixed martial arts match, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Woodley won the match. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) MMA
(AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

“Super” Sage Northcutt has gotten a lot of criticism for fans and fellow fighters since making his way to the UFC, but welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will no longer be part of that collective voice.

Woodley is preparing to defend the title against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 205 and brought in some specific talent to help him prepare for the unique striking style of Thompson; one of those people being Northcutt.

“We’ve all had our comments about Sage as a fighter, I think,” Woodley said on a UFC 205 conference call, via MMA Fighting. “Some of the fighters were a bit envious of his entrance into the UFC, and some of the endorsements and some of the things that came with it, him being so young. We all had something to say, me included. And after training with him, I had to bite a couple of my words because he’s way more well-rounded than what I expected, what I thought.

“He’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s fast. He’s a great resource to train with, so I had to bite my own words, and I would think as long as he still focused and stays true to who he is — because it sounded like everybody wants him to be somebody else — as long as he can do that, I think he’ll go a long way in this sport. He’s young.

“We want to compare him to guys who are my age. He calls me Mr. Woodley and it feels so weird, but I’m like, man, this kid is [20] years old.”

Northcutt holds a 3-1 UFC record and 8-1 overall, with his next bout set for UFC on FOX 22 against Mickey Gall.

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