Fresh from his headline-grabbing 57-second knockout of Francisco Trevino earlier this month, the UFC’s newest and youngest star, lightweight prospect Sage Northcutt will make a quick turnaround to face fellow Texas native Cody Pfister on Thursday, December 10 at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“My first fight was so much fun, and this is such a huge opportunity,” the 19-year-old Northcutt said of his UFC debut and his reasoning for jumping back into the Octagon again before the close of 2015. “My fight went incredibly, I have no injuries, I feel strong, I feel great, and I want to have as many fights as I possibly can.”
The UFC FIGHT PASS event is headlined by the bout between strawweight sensation Paige VanZant and Scottish striker Joanne Calderwood.
The youngest fighter on the current UFC roster, Katy, Texas’ Northcutt improved to 6-0 as a pro with his win over Trevino, but he’s no newcomer to combat sports, having trained in traditional martial arts since the age of four. So it should be no surprise that he was calm, cool and collected heading into the Octagon for the first time in Houston.
“Since I was nine years old I said I wanted to fight in the UFC, so that’s when I first started picturing it, and I’ve visualized it hundreds of times, if not thousands,” Northcutt, a third degree black belt in Taekwondo, third degree black belt in Kajukenbo and three-stripe purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, said. “So when I walked out to the Octagon, I was pretty much soaking it all in. There were no UFC jitters – I was just enjoying it and having fun, and getting to see all the people watching me, it just pumps me up. It was actually very calm out there, surprisingly.”
Given Northcutt’s age and the story of his discovery by UFC President Dana White on the new UFC FIGHT PASS series “Looking for a Fight,” there was plenty of hype surrounding the teenager’s debut, but he lived up to all expectations and capped off his victory with a flip in the Octagon that sent social media into a frenzy. All in a day’s work for “Super” Sage.
“If you don’t have fun when you’re out there and if you’re not calm in the Octagon, how could you perform at your best and put on the best show?” he said. “I want the crowd and everyone that tunes in to watch to have a great time and see the best show possible, and I think being calm allows you to do that.”
Having just agreed to the fight late last week, Northcutt hasn’t started scouting Pfister yet, but rest assured that he will be up to speed soon on “The Fist,” an Amarillo native who now makes his home in Boulder, Colorado. Owner of a 12-4-1 record in a pro career that began in 2010, Pfister dropped his UFC debut via submission to James Moontasri in February, but he bounced back with a hard-fought decision win over Yosdenis Cedeno at UFC 189 in July. 8-1-1 since a 4-3 start to his career, the 25-year-old will be a stern test for Northcutt this December.
Speaking of tests, if you needed any more reasons to follow Northcutt’s story, consider that the fight against Pfister coincides with the end of the semester at Texas A&M University, where he is studying to be a petroleum engineer. Now that’s a juggling act.
“The college that I’m at is the number one college in the nation for petroleum engineering, and I’ve actually had to cut back my classes and my workload to be able to train more,” he said. “I’m up here in Canada training at Tristar with Firas Zahabi, Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald and everybody here, so I’ve had to bring my school work and my laptop to manage the studying. So it’s pretty tough, but I’m trying to get as much work done before the fight so I can have all that knocked out so by the time it gets closer to the fight, I can just concentrate on the fight.”
Finals and a weight cut at the same time? If anyone can handle it, Northcutt looks to be the type who can, and with the addition of work at Tristar, this 155-pound standout is likely to be even more dangerous than ever come December 10. There may be just one thing that can take him down at the moment.
“It (training at Tristar) has been awesome,” Northcutt said. “Me and my dad both think that Mr. Zahabi is a super genius. He’s very technical and everything’s just incredible. The only thing I would say is that the next time I come down, I need to bring a coat, because it’s pretty cold. (Laughs) It actually started snowing.”
Tickets for UFC Fight Night: VanZant vs. Calderwood are on sale now.
With the addition of Northcutt-Pfister to the December 10 event, the welterweight bout between Sheldon Westcott and Edgar Garcia has been moved to the UFC 195 card on January 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.