When ONE Championship signed Sage Northcutt to a big free-agent contract, the thought was he could become one of the promotion’s stars. But after suffering a devastating knockout loss to Cosmo Alexandre in his ONE debut, many have written off Northcutt as an overrated bust, fairly or unfairly. Even UFC president Dana White said Sage Northcutt would be better off leaving the sport of MMA and pursuing other interests.
But if you ask ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong, the promotion is still very much behind the 23-year-old talent, and Northcutt’s boss believes “Super Sage” can still be a world champion.
In fact, he believes he can hold belts in not just MMA, but also in kickboxing and Muay Thai.
“Sage’s dream is to be an MMA, kickboxing and a muay Thai world champion, all within ONE Championship, and because we showcase all the martial arts, not just MMA, I still believe he can do it,” Sityodtong told Steven Marrocco of MMAjunkie.com.
The loss to Cosmo Alexandre was devastating and resulted in Sage Northcutt suffering 30 facial fractures. He is expected to make a full recovery, but likely won’t fight again until the end of 2019 at the earliest. When he does return to the cage, the ONE brass is still very much in the belief that he can make a run for their world titles despite such a lopsided loss to Alexandre. It’s no doubt an optimistic take on Northcutt’s future, as the severity of the knockout blow against Alexandre is the kind of knockout that we’ve seen send fighters on downward career spirals time and time again. Still, Sityodtong believes in Sage Northcutt.
“He might have had a rough start, but anybody on any given day can lose, because there’s no margin for error at the highest levels of martial arts,” Sityodtong said. “I still believe Sage can pull it off. He’s so young and he’s so talented. He’s been doing martial arts his whole life. His cardio is insane, his strength is insane, his technique is unbelievable. I think people are going to be surprised three years from now when they see all that Sage has accomplished.”
Do you think Sage Northcutt has what it takes to be a three-sport world champion in ONE?