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Michelle Waterson doubles down on Paige VanZant ‘very green’ comment

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UFC on FOX 22 Open Workout Esther Lin photo

SACRAMENTO -- It’s the closest thing to trash talk we’ve heard leading up to the main event of Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 22: Michele Waterson thinks her opponent, Paige VanZant, is ‘very green’ as a fighter.

PVZ disagreed on Monday’s MMA Hour, saying “everyone thinks I’m super green, but I’m not.”

But Waterson defended her remarks at Thursday’s open workouts at Golden 1 Center, saying, essentially, that she was simply keeping it real.

“Calling her green and all that stuff is just me being honest with myself and staying focused and being comfortable in my own skin and expressing how I feel,” Waterson said. “And its true. She is green. I have lots more experience than her. But just because she is green doesn’t mean she’s not a fighter.”

And to that extent, Waterson, the former Invicta atomweight champion, is willing to defend both VanZant and her fellow young upstart, Sage Northcutt, from the criticism they’ve faced in some corners.

“Sage is a martial artist,” Waterson said. “Just because he looks like a Ken doll, you can’t take away his credibility. And it’s the same with Paige, you can’t take away from her abilities. But that said, I trust in my abilities, I trust in my skills and abilities and I know that I’m a martial artist.”

Of course, while Waterson has been at the sport longer, this will also be her first fight since July of 2015, due to myriad injury concerns. VanZant, meanwhile, has fought three times in that span while also doing “Dancing with the Stars.”

But while Waterson concedes VanZant has been more active, she says her time spent at the world class JacksonWink gym negates any advantage VanZant might glean.

“She’s been fighting, but the thing you have to remember is in the gym,” Waterson said. “I have teammates fighting every other weekend, so just to be able to around that energy has been good to, just help me stay prepared and stay ready.”