At a time when most young people are worried about prom dates, Sage Northcutt was training for his first professional fight.
An amateur point karate world champion, Northcutt entered the world of pro MMA shortly after his 18th birthday in 2014 while still in high school. After his first five pro fights, in which Northcutt finished each opponent with only one escaping the first round, the UFC came calling.
With four fights under his belt at the sport’s highest level, the 20-year-old Northcutt says he is seeing the benefit of his early arrival.
“I believe coming in early to the UFC gives me an advantage,” Northcutt said. “More time to learn, more time to be in the UFC and get better as a fighter.”
Northcutt began his amateur career at age 16, putting together a 5-1 record before making the decision to turn pro.
“If you wait too long, then maybe you have a few fights and you never learn about injuries or your learning rate,” Northcutt said.
He is 8-1 as a professional, including 3-1 in the UFC, and has no qualms about his decision.
“No, I’m absolutely happy, and almost all my fights were actually in school, I was either in high school or college,” Northcutt said
The Houston-area native said he is still taking classes at Texas A&M, but has cut his hours back to maintain his training schedule.
“I’m taking it one fight at a time now and there’s no rush,” Northcutt said.
And with no rush, Northcutt is loving the life of a UFC fighter. The Reebok athlete was in New York last week for a promotional appearance with fans before UFC 205.
“What I love the most about being a pro fighter is meeting the people,” Northcutt said. “You get to meet all the fans and new friends that you get to meet up with all the time.”