Given how notorious the so-called first time Octagon jitters are, it was shocking to hear 19 year-old rookie Sage Northcutt say he was completely unaffected by his promotional debut last week at UFC 192. "Believe it or not, I felt really calm," he told UFC Tonight.
Less than a year into his professional career, Northcutt got a call-up to the big leagues and took on Francisco Trevino in Houston, last Saturday, near his home of Katy, TX. Despite the stakes and stage, Northcutt said he was able to deal with minor nerves and have the fight play out exactly as he had always visualized it going.
"I've visualized it a thousand times," he said.
"Walking in and standing in front of the crowd and my opponent. There were some butterflies in my stomach, but not too much. Once the fight starts, you're ready."
The lightweight did indeed look ready as he scored a TKO win in just 57 seconds. Now that he's accomplished his latest goal, Sage is setting his sights even higher.
"When I was nine years old, I was on the cover of Sport Karate magazine," he remembered.
"Then I said that I'd fight in the UFC. Now I've done that and I believe I can win the title belt. That's my new goal."
In order to help that goal come to fruition, Northcutt is considering taking off some time from college to focus on his budding MMA career. "Last semester, I was taking classes full time and I didn't have enough time to train MMA," he explained.
"This semester, I took off some of my classes and this was the first fight I truly got to train for. I might take a little time off from school to train. I'd be a totally different animal if I trained full time."