Former UFC welterweight star “Super” Sage Northcutt is set to make his debut in the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Enter the Dragon on May 17 in Singapore. He’ll make this debut opposite kickboxing export Cosmo Alexandre, who has carved out an impressive 7-1 MMA record, primarily in the Bellator cage.
Sage Northcutt is excited to get this new phase of his fighting career underway.
“I feel great,” a typically chipper Northcutt told BJPenn.com from his family’s home in Katy, Texas. “I’m looking forward to fighting May 17th against a Cosmo Alexander and having my debut for ONE Championship. It’s going to be in Singapore, which is really cool.”
At present, Northcutt’s plan is to head to The Lion City about a week before the fight, which he hopes will allow him to acclimate properly.
“I plan on going out there a week or maybe eight days before just so I can acclimate to the time difference,” he said. “I think it’s about 15 hour time difference. It’s a big one, yup, so I’ll be going out there maybe about a week before.”
Sage Northcutt visited Singapore when he was first being courted by ONE Championship, but he has yet to fight quite so far from home. That being said, he has previously fought overseas, particularly in his youth, when he was competing in karate tournaments.
“I’ve competed around the world just as a little kid,” he said. “I competed over in Russia, in Croatia, Ireland, doing karate tournaments and kickboxing and full contact. Now competing over there at this age, even though I haven’t competed overseas recently, I think I’ll adjust pretty good. The only time difference that was hard for me to adjust to really was when I went to Italy, actually. I went to Italy to coach a friend of mine, Raymond Daniels, and when I was there — I was there for about a week — and I didn’t adjust to the time for some reason.”
The strain of traveling to a far-off destination is just one of the challenges Sage Northcutt will have to deal with, of course. Once he’s arrived in Singapore, he’ll have to contend with the world class striking of Cosmo Alexandre, who could well be the most dangerous striker he’s fought to date.
“It’s hard to say about the striking in MMA just because everybody’s different,” he said, rating is foe’s striking technique. “But all around, I think he is the best striker that I’ve gone up against so far, and I think it’s going to be a really exciting fight.”
Northcutt has been preparing for Alexandre’s destructive striking at Team Alpha Male, where he’s been able to work with some top-level kickboxers.
“I have some good sparring partners at Team Alpha Male,” he said. “I’ve been getting lots of training in up there as I always do. I’ve been living up there and we have some world champion kickboxers that go up to the gym. I’m just preparing like I would for any fight.”
Sage Northcutt, of course, is something of a striking savant himself, having honed his skills on the karate circuit. Given his own skillset, he’s not sure whether he’ll opt strike with Alexandre or drag the fight to the mat.
“I think it will be interesting to see who the better striker is out there,” he said. “I can definitely see myself striking out there, but I can take him down if I want to.”
If Sage Northcutt is able to topple Cosmo Alexandre in Singapore, he’ll take a massive leap in the direction of a ONE Championship title shot — something he’s already thinking about.
“That would be awesome,” he said of a potential title shot. “I definitely want to be a champion in ONE Championship. I think they have the belief in me that I can go out there and do it.
“Before coming over to ONE Championship, I was offered to fight Demian Maia, who was ranked number two in the UFC I believe at the time. So if the UFC saw that in me, to be able to fight one of the top 10 guys, ranked number two, then I believe I can fight for the title in ONE Championship not too long from now.”
The ONE Welterweight World Title is currently owned by ferocious Swede Zebaztian Kadestam, who has already defeated some high-level talent in Georgiy Kichigin, Tyler McGuire, and Luis “Sapo” Santos. Sage Northcutt has caught a few of the champ’s fights, and he’s definitely impressed.
“I’ve seen a few of his fights,” he said. “ONE Championship has such good strikers and they have some good wrestlers too. He’s a very talented fighter.”
The ONE: Enter the Dragon card Northcutt is set to debut on already looks like a massive one for the promotion. The card will feature a lightweight title fight between champ Shinya Aoki and challenger Christian Lee, as well as all four quarterfinal bouts of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix.
The UFC veteran is understandably excited to debut on such a big card.
“I think it’s going to be awesome,” he said. “My first card for ONE Championship will be a huge card in Singapore, the [promotion’s] home city. It’s going to be amazing.”
As his ONE Championship debut draws ever closer, Sage Northcutt is dialed in on a single task: destroying Cosmo Alexandre and announcing his arrival to the Asian promotion in the loudest way possible.
“Talking about it with my coaches and kind of visualizing it… I visualize myself going out there and beating my opponent in every way possible. In my mind I visualize myself going out there and knocking my opponent out, or taking my opponent down or submitting my opponent. For me, I have a vision of each one, but I just have to be prepared for every opportunity and see what’s open.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/10/2019.