Sage Northcutt is a rare fighter who knows what it’s like to compete in the UFC as a teenager. According to him, no fighter has done it better than him. While he was touted as a potential future of UFC, he suffered a major blow to his career in just his third fight after losing to Brian Barberena in 2016. Even though he was, after all, only eight fights into his professional career, he went from being the next big thing to being deemed a total bust.
A similar fate was experienced by Raul Rosas Jr., who, at the age of 18, created shockwaves by winning his promotional debut after being signed to the UFC while working through high school. Unfortunately, his career faltered after he lost to Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287, his second performance in the octagon.
Northcutt sympathizes with Rosas and states that, despite all the negative feedback, what really counts is the guts it takes to enter the cage. He advises Rosas to consider this a learning experience and use it to his advantage. Looking back on his debut as a 19-year-old in the UFC, Northcutt doesn’t have any regrets, although he acknowledges that he would have done some things differently if possible.
First and foremost, he wishes he had surrounded himself with the right people that would have been dedicated to making him a better fighter and preparing him for the level of competition he would face in the UFC.
He advises Rosas to do the same and to find a team of professional fighters who will help him hone his skills and elevate his game. Northcutt himself, almost four years after being away from the sport due to severe facial injuries and a bout with COVID-19, is preparing for a comeback. He is looking forward to finally getting back to his work as a professional fighter.
Northcutt recognizes that returning to the sport after COVID-19 and severe facial injuries did not happen at the right time in his career, but he finds solace in being young and having time to improve.