‘I Want To Be A Complete Athlete’ – Sage Northcutt Thrilled With Submission Victory Over Ahmed Mujtaba
While nobody knew for sure what Sage Northcutt would look like in his return to the Circle after a four-year layoff, no one could’ve predicted what transpired on Friday, May 5.
The multiple-time Karate World Champion submitted Ahmed Mujtaba via heel hook in just 39 seconds at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video. By doing so, he dispelled any talks of ring rust and proved he’s still a force to be reckoned with in ONE Championship’s lightweight ranks.
Northcutt was thrilled with his victory at Colorado’s sold-out 1stBank Center, and he believes he owes it all to the disciplined preparation he put in ahead of his highly anticipated comeback.
The 27-year-old American said:
“One of the big things was the mindset. Of course, I’ve been training to stay sharp, but when I go out there, I’m looking for a finish.
“I’ve been training with a great team and great coaches. We’ve been working all around to be very well-rounded and fix the holes in my game. [I’ve been] staying in the gym, staying sharp.”
A frantic start saw Northcutt hit the deck after Mujtaba shot in behind a solid jab, but the Team Alpha Male athlete quickly capitalized.
He entangled “Wolverine’s” legs when his rival tried to posture up to strike. Then Northcutt rolled into a heel hook that forced a hurried tap from the Pakistani athlete.
It was fast and furious, but Northcutt was glad he got to show off the evolving areas of his game amid the frenetic battle.
“[The fight] was definitely pretty fast. I’ve been working on my grappling a lot. The last few years, I’ve been really honing in on it. I’m really excited that I got to win by submission, and I got to show some of that grappling.
“I want to be a complete athlete out there and not just [focus on] one aspect of the sport. So down [on the ground], I was really looking for a finish.
“The mindset going in was: I want to finish my opponent and do it any way possible. I saw an opening when he stood up, so I just took it.”
Sage Northcutt Still Eager To Face MMA Icon Shinya Aoki
Fresh off a slick tapout victory, Sage Northcutt wants to face former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki – the promotion’s leading submission finisher.
The pair were scheduled to meet at “ONE on TNT IV” in April 2021 until the Texas native had to withdraw, but it’s still a matchup that Northcutt’s interested in.
With Aoki’s World Title credentials and spot in ONE’s lightweight top-five rankings, he’d be the perfect foil for the rising American, who predicts a fun battle with the Japanese MMA legend in “Tobikan Judan.”
“I did have a fight set up with Shinya Aoki. I think that will be a super exciting one.
“Looking at my finish now, I think my grappling has improved a lot. I got to show some grappling. He’s a great grappler. I think that would be a real exciting match.”