The UFC has a very active schedule these days, and as the number of events held increases, so too does the number of debuting talents.
Years ago, when the UFC would hold a dozen shows a year at most, all with around ten fights each, it was big news when they picked up a new acquisition. Whether they were a breakout star from the ultimate fighter or a highly touted prospect from the regional circuit, people anticipated the arrival of each arriving fresh face. These days, with mixed martial artists in higher demand fighters are finding their way to the UFC earlier in the careers, and with them they bring no name value at all, generally taking a number of appearances in the octagon before they become familiar to fans. This weekend at UFC 192, 19 year old Sage Northcutt with break the mould.
Northcutt has been something of a buzz in the MMA world this week, after featuring as the prominent role in new UFC Fight Pass exclusive “Dana White: Looking for a fight” where one of his recent bouts was showcased as UFC president White did some cageside talent scouting. Northcutt’s potential was on full display in the episode, introducing fans to his background in high level Karate as well as bodybuilding, his look, charisma and obvious ability seemed to stick with fans, as he may be the most highly publicised debut this year, this could be a very good way for Northcutt to cut the line in terms of gaining big opportunities in the UFC, but this kind of attention is a blessing and a curse.
It seems universal in the world of MMA that Northcutt has his UFC debut in the bag, he sits as -440 favourite at the time of writing, and most fans tuning in would be hard pressed to tell you who he’s actually fighting. If you’re reaching for google to answer that for yourself, his opponents name is Frank Trevino, and has a respectable 12-1 record, with his first professional loss coming in his last fight against Johnny Case. In other words Trevino is far from a pushover, accustomed to the bright light of the UFC and as stiff a test as any for the 5-0 Northcutt, so, what happens if Northcutt doesn’t pull off the win?
if this were any other situation we’d look at a loss for Northcutt as a very young, promising athlete taking a loss to a more experienced competitor and taking away valuable lessons. In this case however, if Northcutt loses, his hype disappears and his breakout star power disappears before it could ever shine.
Whether or not Northcutt gets the job done at UFC 192, his huge potential remains, the only problem is, with hype like his you only get one shot to capitalise, so if he doesn’t get his hand raised this time around, there will be far less camera time in the lead up to his second try.