Free agent star Sage Northcutt has walked away from the UFC, opting to sign an exclusive deal with ONE Championship.
After weeks of rumors, a trip to Singapore to attend ONE: Heart of the Lion, and his now-former boss claiming he “needs work,” Sage Northcutt has a new home. On Friday, ONE Championship announced that they had signed the UFC star, who despite Dana White’s claim of needing work will exit the company on a three fight win streak. It’s a major coup for ONE, who have picked up former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, all-time great Demetrious Johnson, and former UFC star Yoshihiro Akiyama in a matter of months.
Northcutt (11-2), however, may be ONE’s most impressive pickup, mainly due to the upside. Northcutt has an impressive following, a winning record, and is still just twenty-two years old. White’s protests notwithstanding, he still has the potential to be a future champion, especially in ONE, whose weight cutting rules should favor him. Beyond that, his soften-spoken, wholesome persona is a perfect fit for a promotion low on trash talk and high on traditional mixed martial arts values.
Northcutt leaves the UFC off a win over Zak Ottow, a knockout victory at UFC Boise in July. Though it wasn’t commonly known at the time, Northcutt had fought out his UFC contract. He clearly found a better deal in Asia.
ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced the news on Facebook with the following statement:
Please join me in giving a big warm welcome to multiple-time karate world champion, Black Belt Hall of Famer, and rising global mixed martial arts superstar Sage Northcutt to ONE Championship! Sage decided to join ONE a couple of weeks ago after we came to agreement on his contract. And, he specifically asked to make his debut in ONE: Call to Greatness in Singapore on February 22, 2019. I have to say that he and his father are two of the most humble, and kind people I have met. With his beautiful technical skills, explosive power, and incredible athleticism, Sage is undoubtedly one of the most talented martial artists on the planet today. Get ready for Super Sage!!!