Morning Report: Chatri Sityodtong calls Sage Northcutt ‘1 in 8 billion kind of athlete’ ahead of MMA return

It’s just about time for the return of “Super” Sage Northcutt.

ONE Championship will hold the first event in its 11-year history on U.S. soil next weekend in Denver, Colorado on May 5. ONE Fight Night 10 is a stacked line-up with notable names that have been with the promotion for years as well as newer returning figures from outside fame.

Making waves for the signing of Northcutt in late 2018 after an eight-fight UFC stint, ONE matched the youthful lightweight and welterweight prospect with dangerous 185-pound kickboxing veteran Cosmo Alexandre. Unfortunately for Northcutt, his May 2019 debut resulted in a devastating knockout loss in just 29 seconds. His upcoming matchup with Ahmed Mujtaba (10-2) will be his return to 170 pounds at ONE Fight Night 10 and his first bout since the defeat.

ONE CEO and Founder Chatri Sityodtong believes there’s still plenty of potential left to be tapped into for the 27-year-old.

“I truly believe Sage has everything and more in terms of what it takes to become a world champion and a world champion across multiple disciplines for that matter,” Sityodtong told Sherdog. “If you talk to anyone who’s trained with Sage, if you’ve ever seen Sage spar, you’ll know he has unbelievable athleticism, cardio, explosiveness, speed, balance, and of course, technical ability. He’s an unbelievable striker, great wrestling, outstanding jiu-jitsu.

“It’s just unfortunate he had a bad, bad start in ONE. So, this is gonna be a huge comeback story.”

Northcutt (11-3) has been a consistently entertaining fighter when active. His fights generally result in finishes as he’s only gone to the judges’ scorecards on three occasions, all of which were in three of his final four UFC victories.

The Alexandre knockout was one of the nastier punches landed in the past decade. A right hook with the heat of 1,000 suns behind it cracked and planted Northcutt face first, fracturing his face in eight places and requiring a nine-hour surgery.

The Sacramento, California native intended on returning sooner than he is, booking an April 2021 encounter with lightweight legend Shinya Aoki. Lingering COVID-19 effects ultimately forced Northcutt from the bout and led to the stars aligning for a fight back stateside for his sophomore ONE appearance.

“Of course, there’s a lot of questions fans are gonna be asking,” Sityodtong said. “Where is Sage mentally? When you’ve been knocked out like that, coming back you may not be the same person, genuinely. You may be gun-shy. At the same time, Sage is one of these ‘one in eight billion’ kind of athletes. He’s a specimen.

“I think Sage is gonna come back spectacularly, but he has a very tough fight. Ahmed Mujtaba is no joke. He’s got aggressive KO power and he’s pretty slick on the ground and I believe he’s training at AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) right now. It’s gonna be a barnburner of a fight, but a lot of questions will be answered with this fight on Sage’s potential to become a world champion and whether it’s still there or not.”

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Classic KO.

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Full fight.

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Sterling’s camp.

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Ngannou in the sand mines.

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War Room: Sterling vs. Cejudo

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Headed back.


Good guy Gordon.


More in store.

Natan Levy (8-1) vs. Pete Rodriguez (4-1); UFC Charlotte, May 13

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (23-7) vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (17-3-1); UFC Vegas 74, June 3

Tabatha Ricci (8-1) vs. Gillian Robertson (12-7); UFC Jacksonville, June 24

Walt Harris (13-10, 1 NC) vs. Josh Parisian (15-6); UFC Fight Night, July 15

Molly McCann (13-5) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (10-8-2); UFC London, July 22

Well… things can’t go any worse than they did in Northcutt’s ONE debut, right…?

Thanks for reading!


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