The debut of Sage Northcutt at the ONE Championship could not have been worse.
After leaving the UFC with three welterweight and lightweight wins, the 23-year-old hit the Brazilian kickboxing veteran Cosmo Alexandre with 185 pounds and was knocked out in just 29 seconds.
Northcutt suffered extensive injuries in the fight, including eight fractures that required a nine-hour operation in Singapore following this debut in May.
In his first interview since this loss, Northcutt told MMA Fighting that he still could not exercise.
"It took a while to heal again," said Northcutt. "Main thing my nerves in the face. When I had the injury with the breaks, they almost cut my nerves, so my nerves return. I'm waiting for the doctors to give me permission to come back, but since my injury and struggle, I have not completed MMA training in the past five or six months.
The ONE Championship star was worried that he would never be hit in the face after such a serious injury. But he was sure that eventually everything would work out.
"Obviously, that's a scary thought for anyone who has the extent of the injury I've done," Northcutt said. "But I always shoot for the best."
Northcutt hopes to be medically approved for training so he can return to the gym "early next year." He has no schedule for his next fight.
"I hope it's as soon as possible, because I'm very excited," he said. "All I could do was eat as healthy as possible, and right now I could start with a few weights to train a bit and try to stay in shape."
Northcutt does not regret it Fought 1
"Of course, I wish my injury did not happen and I was not reset for five or six months without training and improving better," he said. "I'm going back to 155 where I was unbeaten," said Northcutt. "I was 5-0 in the UFC before in the weight class. I've been undefeated all my career in this weight class, so I think that will help. I was really in a weight class that was too big for me, 185, and I think that has something to do with it.
Northcuts plans could be complicated by the emphasis on the ONE Championship on preventing extreme weight loss. He will not be able to dehydrate heavily to reach the 155 pound mark.
"I started fighting at 155 when I was 18 or 19," he said. "I definitely have more muscle now (and) I'll have to lose a bit of muscle, because if I had zero percent body fat, zero, all the water I can lose in my body. It would be hard for me to do. I have to lose muscle.
"I'm getting faster, faster. And for this weight class I will have a lot of muscle. I think it will be great.
Despite the setback in his advertising debut, Northcutt's goals remain the same as earlier this year: Win the ONE Championship belts in MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing.
"I still plan to keep doing that," Northcutt said. "Back to 155, I think that's the weight class for me, I still think I can do it, I've learned a lot of things from the last fight I just had, and I think I'll be a better one Become wise from it. "