Sage Northcutt: Why 155 pounds will ‘fit me the best’ upon ONE Championship return

Sage Northcutt intends to return to 155 pounds for his next fight after he sustained brutal injuries from a bigger man in his ONE Championship debut.

Northcutt (11-3) hasn’t fought since May 2019 after a 29-second knockout loss to Cosmo Alexandre caused serious facial injuries. Northcutt underwent extensive reconstructive surgery, and even a year later has not received clearance to resume competition.

One of the unique aspects to ONE Championship is it does not conform to normal weight class standards. Fighters are expected to compete at a “natural” weight, and Northcutt’s bout against Alexander was contested at 185 pounds. The result was devastating, and Northcutt has no intention to do it again.

“That weight class fits my body, my body’s style, the weight that I am, naturally when I’m training and doing all my cardio and conditioning and full-contact sparring, that 155-pound weight class,” Northcutt told MMA Junkie. “It’s featherweight for ONE Championship – that’s the weight class that fits me the best. It’s not that I have hopes of fighting any specific person or have a target. It’s just that that’s the weight class that’s gonna fit me the best, I think.”

Northcutt, 24, was 5-0 in the UFC as a lightweight. His two losses inside the octagon, to Bryan Barberena and Mickey Gall, both occurred at welterweight.

Now with ONE Championship, Northcutt will not simply be allowed to cut weight down to 155 pounds like he would’ve when he competed for the UFC. ONE Championship instituted hydration tests that can help determine to what extent an athlete has compromised his body, so additional steps must be taken.

According to Northcutt, he is already taking that into consideration. He said his typical training will do most of the work for him, but he knows everything must be on point if he’s to compete in that division upon his eventual return.

“The ONE Championship people have a thing where you’re fighting at your natural weight,” Northcutt said. “So they do the hydration test. For me, it’s just getting back out there, being able to train full contact, being able to spar hard, train harder than ever. Just train like I normally do with my cardio and just kill it harder than ever in my training.

“It’s not a thing about cutting weight. It’s just my natural weight. Instead of trying to eat to gain weight or focus anything to get bigger, I’m just walking around my natural weight.”

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