In the UFC, there will be a time when you run into a better fighter, and you end up on the losing end of the match. It has happened to the best the sport has ever seen. Former champions such as  Anderson Silva, Randy Couture and Ronda Rousey have all been on the losing end after running the sport for years. The great ones have the ability to admit they got beat, but more importantly, become even better than they were. This is something that Sage Northcutt has shown he must learn.

Sage Northcutt has risen to stardom in the sport extremely quickly, as the 19-year old was featured on Dana White’s “Looking for a Fight” web series. His popularity continued to soar as he won his first two fights against Francisco Trevino and Cody Pfister in thrilling fashion. However, in his most recent fight against Bryan Barberena experienced the same fate as those aforementioned champions, a loss.

Northcutt was forced to tap in the second round against Bryan Barberena, his first professional loss. While the loss was disappointing, the way he has handled it has been the worst part.

He has made excuses saying it wasn’t the choke that made him tap, but rather, it was because of strep throat. Am I saying that he wasn’t sick? No, that absolutely could true. Very few fighters are actually 100 percent entering a fight, as the training camps are brutal and create a lot of wear and tear. However, the one thing Northcutt could not have done is take away from Barberena’s performance. As soon as that happened, many UFC fighters took to social media to call out the teen prodigy.

Current welterweight champion Robbie Lawler early in his career had to take time away from the sport, and he has returned a man possessed. Since his return, he has provided the fans with some of the greatest fights in recent history, while becoming champion.

For Northcutt, there are so many positives for him moving forward. He is still only 19 years old with an abundance of talent, but he has to take that next step outside of the octagon before he becomes better inside the cage.

The loss showed that he is in the big leagues now. It is like that in any sport. Rookies tend to struggle in basketball, football and baseball, and they take some time to reach their potential. For Sage Northcutt, that means he needs to get back to work, and not take another fight soon. He has to improve in every area in the octagon before he can compete with the top welterweights in the class.

For Sage Northcutt, there can’t be any excuses. This is not a team sport where if you’re having an off-day, a teammate can pick up the slack and get the job done. He needs to reach out to other fighters, pick their brains, and really focus on taking it to the next level.

The potential is there for him to be a superstar, now, he must hone those skills and mature both in and outside the cage.