Sage Northcutt wants to fight Shinya Aoki. But he is being told by ONE Championship that Shinya Aoki does not want to fight him. But Shinya Aoki says he does want to fight Sage Northcutt but ONE Championship hasn’t offered him a fight.
Confused? You are probably not the only one but it all unrolled in this Twitter exchange over the weekend:
Then you call @ONEChampionship and find out for yourself https://t.co/Gcya50kORb
— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) July 9, 2022
At least Aoki managed to keep things civil this time. He famously told Northcutt to ‘eat s**t’ on Twitter after being politely called out by the UFC veteran.
Both men are coming off devastating KO defeats although Aoki’s was much more recent. He was knocked out by Yoshihiro Akiyama earlier this year while Northcutt got finished by Cosmo Alexandre back in 2019 and has not been seen since.
This fight has been in the works for a long, long time. They were first booked to fight at ONE on TNT part IV last year but Northcutt pulled out because he was struggling to recover after contracting Covid-19.
Aoki ended up fighting, and beating, Eduard Folayang instead. Unlike Northcutt he has been extremely active and always seems to get in three or four fights per calendar year.
Yoshihiro Akiyama brought his 14-year rivalry with Shinya Aoki to a KNOCKOUT conclusion at ONE X!@akiyamayoshihir #ONEX #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/Rq0UeIM3bP
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) April 4, 2022
Northcutt’s signing was seen as a major coup for ONE Championship. His UFC contract had expired and, at the time, he was the most eligible free agent in the sport.
But it is fair to say things haven’t gone to plan for the photogenic American. He suffered serious facial injuries during the defeat to Northcutt and was out of action for several months.
He subsequently contracted Covid-19 and it took him a long time to recover from that. His coach at Team Alpha Male, Urijah Faber, also hinted that Northcutt did not want to fight in Singapore while restrictions on unvaccinated travelers were in place.
A lightweight fight with Aoki would make a lot of sense for Northcutt, who looked significantly smaller than Alexandre in their welterweight bout. It is clearly a fight that ONE Championship would like to make but it doesn’t look likely to land on any of next months cards.
The two fighters clearly want to fight each other so hopefully this is a bout we will get to see sooner rather than later.