‘That’s A Big One’ – Sage Northcutt Focused On Shinya Aoki For His Next Fight
For years, callouts have gone back and forth between the American superstar and the Japanese legend – with their matchup almost coming to fruition in 2021 – and Northcutt is desperate to finally make it a reality.
Despite a three-year injury layoff, “Super” Sage looked like he’d never missed a beat when he defeated Ahmed “Wolverine” Mujtaba at ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video, and in the post-fight press conference, a potential clash with “Tobikan Judan” was raised once again.
Northcutt was clear about his desire, and after ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong echoed those sentiments, the 27-year-old has had a singular goal in mind.
He told onefc.com:
“Yeah, absolutely [I still want that fight]. We had it in the works before I had my last fight with Ahmed. We had it set and he said he still wants it. I think we should do it.
“I’ve been really focused on Shinya since after my last fight. Post-fight when we talked with all the media, it got brought up by someone out there saying, ‘How about you and Shinya?’ And it got brought up that it might possibly be the next thing. So since then, I’ve just been thinking about that.”
Northcutt started his martial arts career in karate and became one of the most decorated competitors in the sport, while BJJ and judo black belt Aoki is one of the most accomplished submission specialists in MMA history.
That clash of styles is enough to pique the interest of fans, but “Super” Sager has also worked hard to round out his game over the years.
His surprising first-round heel hook submission of Mujtaba was proof of that, and he thinks it would be a battle for the ages against the former ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion.
“I think that fight [with Aoki] is one a lot of fans want to see. A top grappler and former World Champion versus a striker – and I’ve worked on my grappling a ton – so it’s going to be super exciting.
“I had quite a few years off, and I came back in my last fight, won by submission in the first round, and now I’m going to be possibly fighting Shinya. He’s one of the top guys in the division. He was one of the longest-reigning World Champions for ONE Championship. That’s a big one.
“I’m obviously going out there to try to win and finish my opponent. So I guess we’ll see after the fight.”
Sage Northcutt Not Paying Attention To Other Lightweight MMA Contenders
Given his reputation and popularity, Sage Northcutt is not short of potential opponents.
Many of his peers in the lightweight MMA division have stated their desire to face him, but the Texas native won’t be sidetracked as he guns for a showdown with #5-ranked Shinya Aoki.
And while he appreciates being a target, he simply can’t look past a potential test against a true icon of the division:
“It’s cool. People call other people out, but I got my focus on one fight at a time. So right now, I’m focused on fighting Shinya.
“He’s the former champion. He’s nobody to look over. That’s a big fight. I’m excited for that one. Hopefully, we get that here soon.
“Having your focus on what’s in front of you is the most important thing.”