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Sage Northcutt was planning comeback ‘the very next day,’ never considered retirement after crushing ONE debut

It’s been almost four years since Northcutt was last seen in competition, but that’s all time that he’s spent training and recuperation for a return to fighting.

Sage Northcutt celebrates his win over Zak Ottow at a UFC event in 2018.
Sage Northcutt celebrates his win over Zak Ottow at a UFC event in 2018.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Sage Northcutt is all set for his MMA return on May 5th in Broomfield, CO. The former top UFC prospect left the world’s largest MMA promotion back in 2018 to play the free agent market, eventually landing with Singapore’s ONE Championship. What was supposed to be a glorious debut, against former kickboxing sensation Cosmo Alexandre turned instead into a career altering moment for the Team Alpha Male fighter.

A quick KO in round 1 saw Northcutt suffer 8 facial fractures. He hasn’t competed since.

Despite the severity of the setback, in a recent interview with the MMA Hour, Northcutt revealed that the idea of stepping away from competition permanently never crossed his mind.

“No, not really,” Northcutt admitted, when asked if he’d considered retiring (transcript via MMA Fighting). “After my fight, even right afterward, the very next day I was already planning on coming back. It did take a little while — as a lot of people know, for about a year plus, I was just healing up. So that took a little bit of time, for sure. But after that, I was full-blown training.”

In fact, The now 26-year-old had his MMA return all prepared for April 2021—a bout against Shinya Aoki—when he was hit by another major medical setback.

“Horrible coincidence, but two weeks out from my fight, I was supposed to leave to go overseas, I got COVID,” he said. “That just threw everything for a loop. I was pretty sick for a little bit. It took like six months of doing blood work, trying to figure out what’s going on.

“I didn’t even know for the first couple of days. I kept trying to train through and started to get run down, ended up testing positive for COVID. ... So I was trying to work around that, and I think trying to do that, I just ran myself down pretty bad. Then I had to sit at home, and that was the hardest thing, not doing anything.”

All told, while it hasn’t been the most productive time of ‘Super’ Sage’s life, it sounds like he’s found a quality silver lining out of it. Namely that this major series of setbacks came early in his career.

“I”m glad this happened at a time when I was so young and didn’t happen later in my career,” Northcutt enthused. “I have a full career ahead of me. It happened now, and it’s better than later.”

ONE Fight Night 10 takes place at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, CO. The card is expected to be headlined by a 135 lb title trilogy bout between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes.

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