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Whatever Happened To That Dude?

Anthony Perkins Avatar

written by: #spiderbones

Sage Northcutt, MMA fighter

Another installment of our monthly segment, where we dive into “Whatever happened to that dude?” A look at where some of our favorite athletes have gone to since their retirements or other unceremonious departures from their prospective sports. With UFC 300 happening tomorrow night, we at Regeneration Sports Network, decided we would dive into arguably one of the greatest fighter names to ever grace the world of MMA, and UFC. Sage Northcutt.

            Sage Northcutt was born in Texas in 1996. His father Mark was an established black belt in the art of Shuri-ryū karate. Sage started competing in karate at the early age of 4. By the time he was 9, Sage was making waves in the world of combat sports, becoming the youngest cover athlete of Sport Karate Magazine. Northcutt won a total of 77 youth karate competitions and was inducted to the Blackbelt Magazine Hall of Fame at the young age of 15.

In 2013, Sage began competing in a Texas Regional Amateur MMA outfit called Legacy Fighting Championship (Now called Legacy Fighting Alliance). He quickly racked up an amateur record of 5-1, with his only loss coming in his first ever fight. It was a TKO in the first round by Charles Sheppard. At the age of 18, in 2014 he made his Pro debut at Legacy FC 37. He found Tim Lashley and would win his debut fight in 27 seconds via a TKO. In a brief time of 16 months, he was 5-0. It became difficult for Sage to balance his Engineering Major at Texas A&M and his MMA training schedule. He decided to drop out of college and focus on his fighting career.

“Are you kidding me?” Northcutt asks MMA Underground. “I enjoyed that. Coming into the UFC at 19, being one of the youngest fighters at the time, that’s something I really enjoyed, that I do not want to take back. If I could change something, though, I would go back, put the engineering that I was trying to study at the same time, I’d put that on hold a lot sooner and I’d devote my time fully and get into an MMA gym with a bunch of fighters, a bunch of pro guys, getting those live goes. That’s something that I would have changed sooner if I could have, and I feel like that would have made a big difference.”

Sage Northcutt via MMA Underground on if he regretted dropping out of college

In the debut episode of Dana White’s “Looking For A Fight”, Northcutt’s second round victory against Rocky Long at Legacy FC 44 was featured. Having been impressed with Northcutt, White signed him to his first UFC contract. Two months later, Sage’s dream of being a UFC fighter was coming to fruition. In October 2015, at UFC 192, he defeated Francisco Treviño in 57 seconds via knock out.

19 year old Sage Northcutt KO’s Francisco Trevino in 57 seconds

Sage would go on to have a 6-2 record during his first contract with UFC. The final match of his first contract came in July 2018 at UFC Fight Night, against Zak Ottow. Northcutt won his bout in the second round via KO. In September following his bout against Ottow, Sage appeared on “The Ariel Helwani Show” confirming that his contract did in fact expire in July and he was currently a free agent, considering offers from many different promotions. After his contract, Dana White chose not to re-sign Northcutt, citing that he was still a kid and had some techniques to work on outside of the UFC.

“Sage is young, and Sage needs some work. Let him get some work in some other organizations, and we will see where this kid ends up in a couple of years, maybe we will pick him back up again,” White said on UFC Unfiltered with Jim Norton and Matt Serra.

Dana White via UFC Unfiltered on choosing not to re-sign Northcutt

This, however, isn’t what would derail Sage’s career. He was quickly picked up by ONE Championship. ONE is a multinational combat sports promotion founded in 2011. Northcutt’s sister, Colbey, happens to be one of ONE’s female MMA athletes as well. ONE is considered to be Asia’s largest combat sports promotion. In November of 2018, it was announced that Northcutt had signed with ONE. Three months later, ONE announced that his debut fight would be May 2019 vs. Cosmo Alexandre at ONE: Enter The Dragon, in Singapore.

This was Northcutt’s first and only Middleweight fight. He promptly lost via KO, 29 seconds into the bout with a blow to the face, which resulted in 8 facial fractures, requiring prompt reconstructive surgery. This was Northcutt’s first professional loss via Knock out.

Cosmo Alexandre delivers Northcutt’s first KO loss

Six months following this crushing defeat, Sage Northcutt announced that he would be going back to the Featherweight division before he accepted another fight. “I learned my lesson about fighting a weight class too big, going back down to 155, and it’ll be better for me,” he said in an interview with MMA news. He would spend the two years rehabbing and training back into the featherweight weight class.

This is where his career would take a stall. He was scheduled to fight Shinya Aoki in April 2021, however, shortly before the fight he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and wasn’t allowed to participate. Then finally, almost a full FOUR years after his bout against Alexandre, Northcutt stepped back into the cage. At ONE Fight Night 10, in May 2023, he took on Ahmed Mutjaba. Early in the fight, Northcutt was dropped by a hit from Mutjaba, however he was able to recover and won the fight via heel submission. This was awarded “The Performance of The Night”.

“I learned my lesson about fighting a weight class too big, going back down to 155, and it’ll be better for me,” 

Sage Northcutt via MMA News

In January 2024, Northcutt was again scheduled to fight Shinya Aoki at ONE 165, however, just before the bout, he withdrew because of what ONE called a “misunderstanding” with his coaches’ work- visas. Sage has publicly disputed this on his socials. So, as I’m writing this it is unclear if Sage will fight for ONE ever again. One thing is for sure though, if we do in fact never see Sage Northcutt in the Octagon again, it will be a tragedy for combat sports.

Sage Northcutt’s explanation for withdrawing from ONE 165

You can catch up with Sage via his Socials :

@supersagenorthcutt on Instagram

@sagenorthcutt on X

Sage Northcutt on Facebook





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