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Coach Eric Nicksick Doesn’t Want UFC 302’s Sean Strickland to Turn ‘Soft’



While coach Eric Nicksick agrees that Sean Strickland could benefit from some sophistication, he doesn’t want his fighter to turn soft.

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Strickland (28-6) is scheduled to take on Paulo Costa (14-3) in a five-round co-headliner at UFC 302 on June 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Strickland is notorious for his rants and controversial opinions. However, “Tarzan” was recently seen teaching his pup Harley how to swim, leading people to wonder if the former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ is really kind-hearted and compassionate on the inside.

Strickland’s longtime coach recently confirmed that his pupil is, in fact, a “softy.”

According to Nicksick, Strickland’s girlfriend, himself and other members at the gym all work on refining some of Strickland’s edges. However, they unanimously also don’t want the California native to turn soft altogether.

Order Now! UFC 302 “Makhachev vs. Poirier” Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+

“Yeah, of course, man, he’s a big ol’ softy bro. Like 100%,” Nicksick told Shakiel Mahjouri. “That’s the thing with him, it’s just keeping his edge and all the while you try to refine him a little better too as you hang out with him more and more. His girlfriend K.J.’s definitely been a huge godsend to Sean and his life. I think between myself and K.J., the gym and Danny Davis and the bunch of us, we don’t want to turn this dude soft. We have to keep his edge of course, but it is nice to have a little bit of refinement when it comes to Sean.”

Fans saw Strickland’s emotional side exposed leading up to his UFC 297 clash against Dricus Du Plessis this past January. Strickland was admittedly affected by du Plessis mentioning his abusive childhood in a pre-fight presser. The American subsequently appeared on a podcast with comedian Theo Von where he broke down while sharing intimate details about his childhood abuse. Strickland went on to lose his strap to “Stillknocks” in a razor-thin split decision.

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