Sean Woodson expects all of his opponents to try and take him down.
If his 6-foot 2.5-inch frame and 79-inch reach isn’t enough of a reason, Woodson has over 45 amateur boxing bouts to his name. The 28-year-old put on some of his best stand-up performances this past year.
On five days notice, he knocked out Terrance McKinney with a flying knee on Dana White’s Contender Series in July. He then picked apart Kyle Bochniak on the feet for a unanimous-decision win in his UFC debut in October.
Set to take on Kyle Nelson at UFC on ESPN 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, June 27, Woodson anticipates Nelson will try to take the fight to the ground.
“You can put me in there with a guy who thinks he is the best striker in the world, the best striker in the division, or striker first, I guarantee I am going to turn him into a wrestler every time,” Woodson said.
“He [Nelson] is not one of those guys that likes to take you done and lay one top of you, even though I am 100 percent sure he is coming to wrestle me, but I do have a feeling he will strike with me somewhat.”
There’s a clear reason why Woodson is the only featherweight fighter over 6 feet 2.5 inches. It’s not an easy cut for someone of his height.
Woodson is used to it and even cut 24 pounds in four days to be on the Contender Series. Woodson swears he will never make a cut like that again.
It’s the same reason why he turned down a fight on five-days notice at UFC 247 in February.
“That’s a 100 percent a never again type of thing,” Woodson said. “As far as repeating that and doing that again, I just don’t see that being possible.”
He asked for it
Woodson already made adjustments to his weight and is making sure he stays low enough to take short notice fights about two to three weeks out. The COVID-19 pandemic brings a whole other obstacle to cutting weight.
Woodson and Nelson will meet at a catchweight of 150 lbs., but the Missouri native said he could have made featherweight.
“Even this fight, I was able to make 45, if that is what the fight was at. The only reason we are doing this catchweight is because my opponent asked for it,” Woodson said. “That kind of lets me know as much as he says he’s in good shape and he’s been training consistently, you can’t be in that good of shape if you’re asking for a catchweight.”
Nelson is coming off his first UFC win, a first-round TKO against Polo Reyes at UFC on ESPN+ 17 in September. It ended a two-fight skid for Nelson inside the octagon.
Base don his past fights, Nelson has shown he doesn’t mind going to the ground, but will stand and trade as well. Woodson welcomes the next test in his UFC career.
“He’s my toughest opponent to date, no doubt,” Woodson said. “Those are the type of guys I like to fight, the guys that come forward and bring the fight to me.”
Engage in the cage
Woodson will return to the 25-foot octagon for the first time since his Contender Series bout. The size of the cage made little difference to Woodson, who competed in the 30-foot octagon in his last bout.
With a smaller cage, there’s obviously less room to move. For Woodson, it only will make him want to engage more.
“A fight is a fight,” Woodson said. “I like that cage. It pushes the action, not much room to dilly dally in there. The bell is going to ring and we are going to get straight to it.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.