‘Super’ Sage Northcutt ‘Super Excited’ To Fight Shinya Aoki
After a horrible start to his ONE Championship career in 2019, Sage Northcutt is looking to bounce back against Shinya Aoki at ONE on TNT 4 on April 28th.
Northcutt faced Cosmo Alexandre in his promotional debut at ONE: Enter The Dragon two years ago, when he was brutally knocked out in the very first minute of their welterweight fight. In addition to suffering a crushing defeat, he also suffered eight facial fractures that required a nine-hour operation.
“Super Excited To Be Back”
Due to injuries and COVID, Northcutt hasn’t fought since the Alexandre bout, but speaking to MMA Fighting, ‘Super’ Sage said that he’s ‘super excited’ to be back.
“It’s been kind of crazy,” Northcutt said. “I mean obviously every sport has injuries but on top of that, when COVID hit all around the United States and overseas, it kind of shut down a lot of stuff. So especially me training out in California and California’s been kind of shut down for such a long time.
“I’m actually super excited to be back in training and to be training for this fight. Cause the fans are going to love it and I know the fans are going to be excited to see some fights going on.”
Frustrating Couple Of Years
Not only has Northcutt been unable to fight for almost two years, he also wasn’t allowed to train for a long period due to the injuries he suffered in his ONE debut. But the time away has only made the 25 year old more excited to return to the ONE Circle.
“I was getting antsy. I can tell you that,” Northcutt revealed. “I don’t even like talking about what happened cause it’s the past but right off the bat, I was already out trying to do cardio and obviously I wanted to get back out there as soon as possible but things happen and then COVID happens all around the United States and overseas, so for me, it stunk to have to wait so long, it definitely stinks.
“But to be back right now and to have a fight scheduled, I can’t even tell you how excited I am.”
Pumped To Fight Shinya Aoki
Northcutt has struggled against grapplers in the past, and when he returns to the ONE Circle later this month, he’ll be facing one of the best submission grapplers in the history of MMA.
“He’s a legend in the sport,” Northcutt said. “He was the champ eight months ago, I believe. Won his last three fights after that. He’s a legend. He’s had 55 pro fights. So for me to have this fight, I’m super excited for it. I’m pumped up to get out there.
“The fact that it’s a weight class down from my previous fight. I’m really excited. He’s had a ton of experience but I’m also excited to show what I’m made of.”
Ready For Everything
Northcutt isn’t giving away his game plan, but it’s no secret that Aoki will try to take the fight to the mat, where he’s at his best. While the former UFC fighter doesn’t plan on engaging in a grappling match with the Japanese legend, he’s prepared for anything that comes his way.
“He’s a great grappler. The thing is you have to be ready for anything,” Northcutt explained. “I’m training at Team Alpha Male to be ready for all the worst case scenarios to the best case scenarios. You can make a game plan, even though I’m not going to give away any game plan but you can make a game plan and then get out there and it can go totally different from what you’re expecting. Just being prepared for the unexpected is always a big thing and just be ready for whatever happens out there, whatever happens to you.
“You have to be prepared for it. He’s a skilled opponent. 55 pro fights and he was the champ, so I definitely have to be ready for anything. He’s got so much experience. Definitely not something to overlook.”
Dropping Down To Lightweight
ONE Championship’s lightweight division has an upper limit of 170lbs due to their weighing in system, which is equivalent to the UFC’s welterweight division. The Karateka is happy to drop back down to 170lbs to fight Aoki at ONE on TNT 4, and is looking forward to try his luck in the promotion’s stacked division.
“If you look at my career with the UFC, I was 5-0 at 155 pounds, which is lightweight,” Northcutt said. “This is their lightweight division for ONE Championship. I’m excited to get back out there with a talented opponent but also my skill set, too.
“I feel like my last fight, that was only one fight, my last fight. Things happen. You can get the best fighter out there, the champion, but everyone gets beat some time. Someone might get beat in five seconds flat. Can’t just go by one fight so I’m looking forward to this fight.”
Do you think Sage Northcutt wins his upcoming fight against Shinya Aoki at ONE on TNT 4?