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Sage Northcutt leaves UFC, signs with ONE Championship

ONE strikes again.

Sage Northcutt is the latest UFC fighter to depart the UFC for Asia’s ONE Championship, the promotion’s CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced Friday on Twitter. Northcutt was a free agent from the UFC and has now signed with ONE, which has been a red-hot destination of late for fighters.

Northcutt will join a pair of former UFC champions — Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez — in ONE Championship. Johnson was brought over in a trade with the UFC in exchange for Ben Askren, while Alvarez signed last month with ONE as a free agent.

Northcutt, 22, is a promising young fighter with a high level of marketability and evolving MMA skill, especially since he joined Team Alpha Male last year. He won three straight to close out his UFC run, culminating in a second-round knockout of Zak Ottow at UFC Boise in July. That bout was the last on Northcutt’s contract. Northcutt (11-2) leaves the UFC with a 6-2 record in the promotion.

The Texas native was initially signed by the UFC after being “discovered” by UFC president Dana White on the “Lookin’ for a Fight” show. White and his co-hosts were wowed at the time by Northcutt’s incredible athletic ability, karate background, shredded physique and earnest personality. Northcutt has the name and improving ability to be someone ONE can build around.

“We let Sage go,” UFC president Dana White said earlier this week on the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast. “Sage is young and Sage needs some work. So let him get some work in one of these other organizations and we’ll see where this kid ends up in a couple of years and maybe we’ll pick him back up again.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday that the UFC had a chance to match the offer given to Northcutt by ONE, but did not. Northcutt had multiple offers, including from Bellator and Combate Americas, but chose ONE in the end, Helwani reported.

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