Sage – How old were you when you first started in martial arts and what are your earliest recollections? What were your first martial arts styles?
I started martial arts when I was 4 years old and started competing with my sister when I was 5. We were traveling all over the state (some out of state) competing at about 20 or more tournaments a year. My first martial art styles were Taekwondo and Kajukenbo.
You were successful at a young age – tell us about your titles and wins.
When I stopped competing I was in the 12-14 year old divisions. By that time, I had won a total of 77 World Titles. I pride myself on traveling all around the world and competing in numerous federations to win and compete against the best.
How long have you been fighting MMA? What was your first full contact experience like?
I’ve been fighting MMA for 2 years. It was just a natural progression from all the other types of fighting I had previously done...along with the karate tournaments, I was competing in wrestling and jiu-jitsu tournaments every year.
How did the UFC find you? Tell us Dana White’s (UFC founder) first impressions of you when he saw a picture of you when you competed as a physique athlete? What made you compete in physique?
Dana White made a surprise appearance to Louisiana to film a pilot for his new series Dana White: Looking For A Fight. When he and his other two co-hosts Nick the Tooth and former UFC champ Matt Serra saw the photo of me that Legacy provided, they all called me a pretty boy Abercrombie model. The picture was from a previous teen physique competition that someone off the internet submitted as a profile picture of me. I had actually competed in the show while I had a broken hand and couldn’t fight. I won the Europa, Texas State, Phil Heath, and Branch Warren Classic. So anyways, Mr. White and his two friends all laughed, seeing my photo all tanned up for the Physique competition, and sided with my opponent. From the first moment of the fight, Mr. White was excited and standing up from his chair watching me pick apart my opponent. I submitted him with a rear naked choke...the technique he had submitted his last 5 opponents with. Now, his first show was such a big success, they are doing an entire year of episodes.
People might not understand how busy your schedule has been. You were a full time student at Texas A&M studying engineering. How were you able to balance your time last year between school, training and your fights?
Last year was hectic. I never had the time to train for any of my fights due to school, studying, and projects on the weekends. This semester I am taking the minimum hours to stay enrolled in school and devote some quality time to training. Mr. White and the UFC have given me a tremendous opportunity to be successful and I don’t want to let anyone down.
We had someone from Labrada go to the mall with you and people were coming up to wanting to take pictures of you. You have become recognizable fairly quickly, what has changed for you?
It’s kind of fun. I enjoy interacting with people and have always been very talkative and outgoing. That’s probably why I was the Homecoming King at Katy High School after transferring there for my senior year. I was at Seven Lakes High School before that.
What’s it like fighting in the UFC? Was your first UFC fight what you expected? Any surprises?
The UFC is awesome! I’m 19 years old and the youngest fighter on the roster right now... and the 3rd youngest ever. I believe I am the youngest fighter to win a fight. I love it. My first fight was over in under a minute, and it was exactly like I had envisioned it. Hearing Bruce Buffer call my name and victory was awesome. And, being interviewed by Joe Rogan afterwards was super cool.
What goes through your head when you step into the octagon?
When I step into the octagon, I’m totally focused on what I have to do. I really can’t hear much of the crowd, but my goal is to finish my opponent as fast as possible.
What are your goals in the next two years?
In the next two years, I want to fight at least 6 or more fights. Plus, I have an acting agent in Los Angeles trying to land some roles for me. I’m also looking forward to traveling to the Olympia with Mr. Labrada and the others on Team Labrada.
You have a strong faith in God – will you talk about how your faith impacts your fighting and your life?
My faith in God had always been important to me. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, a minister friend of our family told me and my dad that I should use martial arts as a platform (that God was providing me with) to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others...whenever and wherever possible. Also, around the same time, I was at a Christian crusade and the minister who was preaching in front of the auditorium walked down the aisle and came up to me in the audience and told me that I would reach millions with the gospel.
What does a typical day of training day for Sage Northcutt consist of? Do you do the same kind of training every day?
My training varies from day to day, but usually I’m at the gym by 10 am for a couple of hours of boxing or jiu-jitsu. then, I’m back later for wrestling or weight training. I’ve always loved the weight training, and have done it since I was about 9 years old. The MMA training always varies since I have so much to learn. The weight training varies as well every day, but I always try to lift heavy and train fast!
Sage, you have an incredibly lean, muscular build. What does your weight training program consist of?
Now, my weight training is chest, shoulders and triceps on one day, then legs the next (super heavy squats). Then I skip a day. Then, back and biceps (for back I always do deadlifts unless it’s close to a fight). I really have always trained like a powerlifting but very fast sets. I’m usually out of the gym within an hour.
You have a reputation for being very strong, even though you’re only 19 years old. What are some of your best lifts? Do you feel that weight training gives you an advantage in the octagon?
I usually do reps and not max lifts, but 405 for 5 on squats, and 450 for 5 on deadlifts.
There’s a picture of you holding a Lean Body meal replacement at 4 years of age! Was nutrition important to you even at a young age-- did you always eat well?
The picture of me at 4 years old holding and drinking the shake was real. My dad was a competitor and had me on a healthy diet since I was 4 years old. I have always used Labrada products. Since we are from Texas where Mr. Labrada and his company is located, my dad has always known Mr. Labrada and trusted that his products were nutritionally sound and good for me to use. Maybe it sounds corny, but wouldn’t you be cautious about what you were giving your 4 or 5 year old?
What does a normal day’s meal plan consist of for you?
I eat a lot of food and always have...usually 5 times a day. A couple of pounds of lean hamburger meat every day, brown rice, tons of vegetables, and a lot of fruit in my Lean Body shakes...and I eat a lot of different grain breads.
How do you use nutritional supplements? Which ones do you use and when/why do you take them?
My nutritional supplements have always been a main focus of mine besides training. I’ve taken them my entire life. I drink a lot of Lean Body shakes (in the morning, afternoon, and before I go to sleep). People have always said I do too much protein, yet I’m always in shape all year long. I either make my own with packets or drink the pre-made meal replacements. I’ve always taken BCAA POWER and Glutalean after I train, and sometimes at night for recovery. I usually mix Power Carb and take it with me to train since I’m in the MMA gym so long. The Elastijoint has always been important. I also love the Lean Body Foods GREENS, it's great to make sure you get your servings of vegetables. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’ve always taken a ton of supplements and I believe that is one of the reasons I’m always in shape. Diet and supplements have always gone hand and hand with me.
Please talk about why you use Labrada Nutrition supplements and how your values and mission are aligned with Labrada.
I may be one of Labrada Nutrition's athletes now, but I’ve always been using their products...for about 15 years. I could have been sponsored by numerous companies, but I was already using a bunch of the Labrada products and I believe in their products. Also, for me, family is extremely important and it was an easy decision to work with them. The Labrada company is a big family with Christian values...I’m a Christian and that’s very important to me, so we have the same goals going forward. My dad, who has always been my trainer and helped me with my nutrition trusted Mr. Labrada and his company from the beginning. He was there when the company started and their integrity is very important to us.