UFC’s Sage Northcutt

For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Sage Northcutt is a nineteen year old phenom. His spiky blonde hair, ken-doll good looks, and acrobatic flips in the octagon have earned him a growing reputation.  After an incredible amateur karate and kick-boxing career he’s already made the jump to the UFC. Sage began training at the age of four, and at this point has 77 karate world championships to his name. He is an undefeated kick boxer (15-0) and remains undefeated in his professional MMA career (7-0). Add all this together and you’ve got the UFC’s most promising young prospect.

A Different Style of Training

One thing that sets Sage very much apart from the average UFC fighter is his style of training. He’s always trained with his father, which is one thing, but he’s also never relied on a fight camp to prepare. For a period of time he did train at the infamous Tristar Gym, home to Georges St. Pierre, but he and his father decided to pullout because of “over-training.” Clearly what they’ve been doing has been working, so “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” I guess.

Incredibly, Sage doesn’t spar. In an effort to conserve his body’s vitality he doesn’t spar at all between fights. This isn’t unheard of, as Robbie Lawler has been known to utilize a similar practice, but it’s definitely not normal. As a student at Texas A&M Sage has stated that he has a limited amount of time to train. The intensive engineering program that he’s enrolled in means hours of studying. Most recently he’s cut back to a lighter course load, but he still intends on graduating as fighting is only a part of his life.

An excerpt from an interview with Legacy FC:

“While in college, I can’t train at all. With the engineering program I’m in, you’re in class all day. You study until 2 or 3 am almost every night, and then on the weekends you’re required to do group projects… so all I really could do was run at night for my cardio. Currently, I train at Gracie Barra Katy. Professor Ted Stickel and Professor Chris Mango are my instructors. I’ve been very fortunate to have a tremendous and very talented training partner in Chris Mango. He and his father are the owners of the studio. Chris is extremely smart, and I still have a lot to learn from him”.

On the AXS TV broadcast, it was stated Northcutt hadn’t been sparring in preparation for his fight, something unusual in today’s sport of MMA;

“I’ve had 10 MMA fights (including amateurs), and I don’t have fight camps or spar. One day at some level, I may do some sparring occasionally… but over 12 years growing up, I fought in 25+ tournaments a year all over the country, and in dozens of tournaments all over the world. Sometimes over a weekend, I would easily fight 8-12 times… so I’ve literally been in a ring fighting several thousand times. So if you do the math, 25 tournaments a year (fighting an average of 10 fights per weekend at a tournament) is a minimum of 250 fights a year. Over the course of 12 years, it’s over 3,000 fights in my career. So for now, I simply work on my non-sparring areas. It certainly keeps me healthier, and I don’t ever get banged-up. The notion of beating each other up in the gym as much as possible directly before a fight so it might be easier in the cage, doesn’t work for me.”

So what does a typical training week look like for this unconventional fighter?

“Jiu-jitsu class in the mornings and sometimes again in the evenings, then I go to the gym and train with my dad, who has always been my karate and stand-up fighting coach. Then, I will go back and train with my partner, Chris Mango, one-on-one. I do go train with some other friends of mine, Bob Perez from 4 oz Fight Club and Pat Swan.”

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