It has been well over 1,000 days since Sage Northcutt made the walk to a cage. As one would imagine, anticipation and eagerness is at an all-time high for the young prospect. But as always, preparation is top of mind and going better than ever for one of ONE Championship’s most anticipated returns.
We caught up with Sage Northcutt while in Denver, Colorado for Media Day to promote ONE Fight Night 10. With a major U.S. debut on the horizon and so much time away from the sport, in some ways — it feels like “Super” Sage is debuting all over again…
“Obviously my first fight didn’t go as I would have like,” said Northcutt. “But I’m really looking forward to showing all the hard work, all the training I’ve been putting in consistently to be able to have that pay off for this fight and make ONE Championship proud.”
After moving on from the UFC to sign with ONE, Northcutt would go on to suffer a KO loss in his promotional debut. The knockout left him with eight fractures in his face that required nine hours to surgically repair. After a grueling amount of time away from the sport, Northcutt was scheduled to return against Shinya Aoki. However, he tested positive for COVID and was forced to withdraw from the fight.
Most would lose hope being forced away from the sport so long. Some even angry after having their return halted. For Sage, it was years of daydreaming about his return and keeping a close eye on fight cards to fuel his passion. But on May 5th, that all turns reality when he finally makes the walk against a ONE veteran in Ahmed Mujtaba.
ONE Championship makes its U.S. on-ground debut Friday, May 5th at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Not only will Sage Northcutt be making his return, the trilogy fight between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes will headline the historic card.
“I’ve been training full-time, watching full-time, and keeping track of all the fighters.”-Sage Northcutt on time away from MMA
Colorado is known for its high altitude, and fighting in it has always presented its challenges. Preparing for that, Sage has been training hard in camp at Team Alpha Male. He’s also making sure his cardio is no issue come fight night, training in Lake Tahoe where there is an elevation of about 6,237 feet.
Even though he’s been away for nearly four years, the minute he was able, he was training full-time. Sage has always been known for his insane physique and athletic skillset. You have to imagine that growing up in the sport, one could never really leave it… Even if forced.
Coming For Gold & More
Most fighters making their return are usually laser-focused solely on fight camp. They most certainly don’t get the platform ONE provides, too. Since signing the contract, Sage has been hard at work promoting what could be a monumental step for the promotion.
Ready to evolve into a “company man” for ONE Championship, Northcutt not only wants to remain active in 2023, he wants to ensure ONE’s investment in him pays off. Just like most fighters, the belt is the goal. But ensuring the promotion is able to establish their footing in the United States is equally as important.
“One of the biggest things I’ve thinking about is getting to fight for ONE in the U.S.”, said Northcutt. “They have been talking about it for quite a while now… To be on the first U.S. card, I’m excited about it.”
The lightweight prospect also hinted at maybe testing his skills in other martial arts bouts that ONE promotes. But all that comes after a win in May.
There’s no telling what we’ll see come fight night; hesitation could be present. But so could a calm, calculated, composed Sage. Now 26 years old, married, and with years training at a high-level gym like Team Alpha Male, the world is on the verge of a re-introduction like no other.
The championship run of Sage Northcutt has officially begun.