Touted prospect Sage Northcutt’s next UFC bout is official.
News came from ESPN.com today (Thurs., December 21, 2017) that the popular lightweight would be returning to the Octagon to face Thibault Gouti at February 18’s UFC Fight Night 123 from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
The bout will be Northcutt’s second UFC contest in his home state of Texas.
Northcutt debuted in the UFC as one of its most hyped prospects ever after being discovered by UFC president Dana White on his “Looking For A Fight” series, railing off two straight stoppage victories over what many deemed to be subpar competition in Cody Pfister and Francisco Trevino. He then lost two of his next three bouts by submission to Bryan Barberena and Mickey Gall at welterweight, and many were quick to say that Northcutt was simply promoted for his marketable good looks and Adonis physique.
But “Super Sage” returned to lightweight, the weight class he’s had the most success at, and recently picked up a decision victory over Michel Quinones at November’s UFC Fight Night 120, improving his overall UFC record to 4-2.
Only 21 years old, Northcutt obviously has a ton of time to rise up in the deeply talented and crowded UFC lightweight division, and he’ll face a true test of his current level when he meets the 30-year-old Frenchman Gouti, who secured a TKO win over Andrew Holbrook in his last bout at UFC Fight Night 115 in September. The win ended a three-fight skid where he lost by finish in all of his UFC bouts. He came to the UFC in 2016 with a then-undefeated 11-0 record.
Gouti is a hard-nosed veteran for certain, but he has been dominated in the Octagon overall, so this could be another bout where the UFC is setting Northcutt up to pick up another win to pad his record. It won’t be an easy fight by any means, but Northcutt has yet to take on a true top-level opponent in just over two years in the world’s largest MMA promotion.
The UFC is looking to make a star out of him in an era where they desperately need them, so this could be yet another launching platform for the hyped “Super Sage” in Texas next February.