Sage Northcutt is gearing up for a highly anticipated fight with the grappling legend Shinya Aoki, at ONE 165…
And he is not intimidated by Aoki’s submission grappling skillset.
Northcutt’s debut in ONE Championship was overshadowed by a series of injuries.
A planned return in April 2021 was derailed by a COVID-19 diagnosis, which he described as a major disappointment, as he explained to MMA Fighting:
Didn’t even know I had it at first. I kept training, I was like I’m run down pretty bad, felt really sick.
Got tested, tested positive for COVID.
Despite these hurdles, Northcutt made a triumphant return in May – securing a victory in just 39 seconds with a Heel Hook against Ahmed Mujtaba.
And yes, it felt amazing:
It felt so good…
I can’t describe the amount of feelings that I had going back out there after almost four years.
As he prepares to face Aoki – a legend with over 60 professional fights and a former ONE Championship titleholder – Northcutt is well aware of his opponent’s grappling skills.
However, he doesn’t appear to be too fazed by it:
It’s not just a grappling match. Same thing with the striking. It’s not just a striking match.
Being prepared to do what it takes out there.
It does start standing up. If we get to the ground, it’s not just grappling out there.
You do have strikes. You can elbow from anywhere you want. You can knee to the head on the ground, knee to the body.
You have practically everything at your disposal.
View this post on Instagram