Sage Northcutt has a reputation for being one of the most respectful and least confrontational fighters in the sport. But, following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injuries and health issues the American has surprisingly taken to Twitter to callout Shinya Aoki.

The UFC veteran is keen to lock down a fight with the Japanese icon but feels Aoki is ducking him:

Big card

Northcutt wrote,

“Hey Shinya, I was told you were going to be my opponent on ONE Championship’s July or August card if you didn’t get injured in your grappling match. Why won’t you fight me on the July or August Amazon Card. What’s the problem?”

ONE 161 is set for Singapore on August 27th and will be headlined by a flyweight rematch between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes. That is presumably the event that Northcutt is referring to.

Aoki recently faced Kade Ruotolo in a submission grappling match at ONE 157. Although the Japanese fighter lost by decision he didn’t appear to pick up any injuries.

The pair were originally scheduled to fight in the co-main event at ONE on TNT IV in April 2021. Northcutt was forced to pull out due to complications with Covid-19 and Aoki fought Eduard Folayang instead, submitting the Filipino with an armbar in the first round.

Northcutt had a tweet for that occasion too although this one was strictly friendly:

Impolite response

In a Tweet that appears to have subsequently been deleted simply replied by telling Nothcutt to ‘Eat Sh**’. The American responded to this one in slightly more robust style:

Intriguing contest

At the time, the response was seen as a touch uncalled for – but now, it certainly helps stir the narrative for what could be an intriguing contest.

Northcutt has not been seen in competition since he suffered a brutal first round knockout against Cosmo Alexandre in May 2019. The Brazilian shattered his orbital bone, and the karate specialist was left dealing with the fallout for years. But it seems the UFC veteran is finally ready to return.

The Alexandre bout had taken place in the ONE welterweight division. Aoki is a lightweight and a much more suitable opponent for the 26-year-old. ‘Tobikan Jūdan (The Grand Master of Flying Submissions)’ is also coming off a knockout loss against Yoshihiro Akiyami at ONE: ‘X.’

With Aoki still holding a #3-ranking in the division – a win for Northcutt could represent a massive turnaround in his career. And with both men having a solid name in the US market – placing the clash on the inaugural ONE Amazon card makes perfect sense.