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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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'Unbelievable!' - Here's why everyone's going nuts for the UFC's new 19-year-old wonderkid

Sage Northcutt looks like the real deal.

MMA UFC 192 Sage Northcutt Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE UFC WELCOMED a new star to its ranks on Saturday night and although it’s still early days, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Sage Northcutt for many years to come.

A 19-year-old native of Texas who only made his professional debut back in November, Northcutt took just 57 seconds to win his first bout in the UFC’s octagon against Francisco Trevino at UFC 192 in Houston, taking his record to 6-0.

Trevino may be a bottom-tier UFC lightweight — and he also missed weight for the fight — but the initial indications are that Northcutt possesses the potential to record similarly emphatic wins over higher calibre opponents… if not right now, then certainly in the near future.

The third degree taekwondo black belt, who also holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, displayed remarkable hand-speed as he unloaded a flurry of strikes on Trevino, before changing levels and dumping his opponent on his back to end the fight with a series of vicious elbows and punches.

Sage

“He looked unbelievable!” said UFC president Dana White afterwards, while the MMA media in the US have also been queuing up to heap praise on a fighter who, with the exception of a superb light-heavyweight title headliner between Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson, was the main talking point in the aftermath of Saturday’s event.

“What impressed about Northcutt was how comfortable he looked,” wrote ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “I would venture to guess Northcutt had no trouble sleeping during fight week. He was excited, but not anxious. He looked like he belonged, to put it simply. Nineteen.”

Reflecting on Northcutt’s debut for Yahoo, Dave Doyle said: “One week ago, only the most hardcore fans knew of Northcutt, who made his pro debut last November. But Northcutt started going viral after Wednesday’s open workouts, when he wowed the crowd with quick striking and flashy backflips.

“If it wasn’t already clear this kid was something out of the ordinary, it became more evident during his interview after the workout, in which he addressed reporters as “sir,” called Dana White “Mr. White,” and repeatedly referenced what an honour it was to simply be included in the festivities.”

According to his UFC.com profile, Sage Northcutt’s hero is Jesus Christ. If he keeps producing performances like Saturday’s debut, however, the teenager won’t require any divine intervention to become the UFC’s next superstar.

“The fight went just how I visualised it,” Northcutt told reporters afterwards. “I thought about throwing kicks to kind of intimidate him and see what he was going to do. I caught him and just followed up with some elbows. People see a lot of my stand-up, and that’s what I’m known for since I was trained in karate and kickboxing, but I also have ground game.

“This feels amazing, it’s such an honour to be here. The crowd, everyone around the UFC were all amazing and this was just an incredible experience. I’ve been training for this since I was four-years-old.

“I want to fight again as soon as I possibly can. I know there’s a card in Australia and South Korea — either of those would be great. I can’t wait for the next one. Whatever Dana White and Joe Silva have planned for me, I’m ready. I’m ready for whatever comes next.”

Flip

Jesus Christ indeed.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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