There’s something in the making when it comes to Sage Northcutt.
It may be the fact that he’s already winning in the UFC at just 19 years of age. It may be the fact that his striking precision already looks like top-10 quality. It may also be the fact that he looks and acts like a darn supermodel, yet still dedicates himself to learning all about petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University.
Either way, the kid’s rise to stardom is officially underway. His lone appearance inside of the cage saw him dismantle a crafty veteran in Francisco Trevino in just 57 seconds, leaving fans wanting more from a youngster only six fights deep into his pro career.
We can’t help it. Northcutt represents the new wave of athlete in today’s mixed martial arts, as well as possessing every ounce of natural ability under the sun. The fact that he can finish fights in style, culminating with a perfectly executed front flip, lends a hand in understanding his worth to a thriving promotion.
But what can we truly except from a baby bird in a division full of vultures?
It’s difficult to say. Some people would love to see “Super” Sage ascend the lightweight ladder as quickly as possible, convincing themselves in the process that the best type of exposure is elite exposure. Others will point out Northcutt’s age, ongoing education, lack of full-time training camp, inexperienced cage time and a precious psyche capable of waning, as a means for taking it slow.
In reality, both arguments can be proven correct. While Northcutt’s brief stint as a member of Tristar Gym may suggest he’s ready for a jump up in competition as soon as 2016, his surrounding team members need to proceed with absolute caution
Considering it is often difficult to gauge a fighter’s overall potential until matched up with worthy adversaries inside of the Octagon, we may all have to sit back and let Northcutt’s performances speak for themselves. What has he worked on? What have been some of his strongest improvements? Does his game have any defined holes?
These are the type of questions that must be answered before the young lightweight is given the go to attack the division’s top 15.
Currently scheduled to fight fellow Texas native Cody “The Fist” Pfister at UFC Fight Night 80 on Dec. 10, Northcutt will soon be thrust back into the cage and dissected move by move. Luckily for him, he will once again bypass ultimate exposure by competing on UFC’s Fight Pass.
However, Pfister is no pushover. With 17 professional fights, nearly three times that of Northcutt, he brings a lot of experience to the cage at just 25 years of age. As a strong wrestler who often channels his aggression to land shots at all turns in a fight, he represents a great test for the UFC’s most prized prospect. It will be up to Pfister to get his hands on Northcutt, out-muscle him in close quarters, put him on his back, and grind away.
As for Northcutt, this is the perfect time to make a statement to the rest of the 155-pound contenders. It will be his opportunity to knock off a respectable up-and-coming lightweight who possesses worthy talents inside of the cage (not that Trevino didn’t pose some sort of threat). He will have to be extra careful when exploding on his feet in order to keep his distance, land heavy shots and look for his seventh straight finish in just as many fights.
If all goes as planned for Northcutt, this should be the last time we see him compete on the UFC’s secondary stage.