19-year-old Sage Northcutt has received a lot of attention over his UFC debut earlier this month at UFC 192, and though his win over Francisco Trevino was an impressive opening display, the hype he’s receiving isn’t being bought by some of his fellow fighters.
Perhaps most vocal thus far is Kevin Lee, who wasted no time tweeting how little he was impressed by Northcutt the night of UFC 192, and who said this week in an interview with MMAJunkie.com that he’d be more than happy to kill the hype for Northcutt’s next fight.
“If Sage wants to fight, I think Sage shuts down after the first round,” Lee said. “I think as soon I get in there, hit him a couple of times, he shuts down. I don’t think this kid has ever been through anything.
“…I just know he’s a rich, privileged white boy, and as soon as he gets in there and gets hit and sees some adversity thrown into his face, I think he’s going to crumble. I think I’m a better striker than him. I damn sure know I’m a better wrestler than him, so I think I can beat him everywhere.”
Lee doesn’t think he’s alone in his feelings toward Northcutt, and says instead he’s just most willing to speak out against what he sees as preferential treatment for a fighter who hasn’t earned it.
“I think a lot of other fighters feel that,” Lee said. “They won’t say s***, but I will. We can settle it right now. I hope he’s listening in so he can hear me – he can hear what I’m saying about him. I’m going to call [UFC matchmaker] Joe [Silva] as soon as I get off the phone with you guys. We can do it at 194.
“[UFC] 194, here in Vegas, biggest fight card of the year. He’ll live the shortest career that the UFC has known.”
Penick’s Analysis: Lee’s been as vocal as possible over the last year, and is trying his best to make himself heard. Northcutt’s absolutely getting the type of promotion from the UFC that few with only one UFC bout ever do, but it’s been easy to see why as well. Criticism can always be levied at the organization over who they try to push and why, but as far as Northcutt himself is concerned, he’s being given a platform and trying to take advantage of it. If he fails, he fails. If he takes advantage of the opportunity, it’s hard to hold it against him. Lee wants to be the one who takes him out and proves the hype to be falsely granted, and though it’s unlikely the UFC gives him that fight right now, he’s making his case as strongly as he can right now.