“Super” Sage Northcutt once looked up to Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki, but the ONE Championship veteran soon became a rival for the American star.

The pair were set to clash in 2021, but Northcutt wasn’t ready to return to action following the devastating injury he suffered in his promotional debut in 2019.

Their rivalry didn’t fizzle, however, and their callouts became increasingly tumultuous after “Super” scored a spectacular win in his comeback fight earlier this year.

Northcutt stepped back into the ONE spotlight at ONE Fight Night 10 this past May and submitted Ahmed Mujtaba in just 39 seconds to remind the world how dangerous he is.

The Californian wasn’t shy about who he wanted to face next after that win, and he continues to assert his desire to lock horns with “Tobikan Judan.”

“Yeah, absolutely [I still want that fight]. We had it in the works before I had my last fight with Ahmed [Mujtaba]. We had it set, and he said he still wants it. I think we should do it,” he told ONEFC.com

“I’ve been really focused on Shinya since after my last fight. Post-fight when we talked with all the media, it got brought up by someone out there saying, ‘How about you and Shinya?’ And it got brought up that it might possibly be the next thing. So since then, I’ve just been thinking about that.”

With a win finally under his belt in ONE, “Super” is laser-focused on threatening the upper echelon of the lightweight MMA division. His striking arsenal makes him a genuine contender already, and his newly developed grappling skills could see him thrown into the world title conversation sooner rather than later.

Northcutt believes his skills are up to the challenge of taking on Aoki. He views the opportunity as a litmus test, and though he’s well aware of “Tobikan Judan’s” talents, the 27-year-old would relish the chance to test himself against the former ONE lightweight MMA world champion.

“I think that fight [with Aoki] is one a lot of fans want to see. A top grappler and former world champion versus a striker – and I’ve worked on my grappling a ton – so it’s going to be super exciting,” Northcutt said.

“I had quite a few years off, and I came back in my last fight, won by submission in the first round, and now I’m going to be possibly fighting Shinya. He’s one of the top guys in the division. He was one of the longest-reigning world champions for ONE Championship. That’s a big one.

“I’m obviously going out there to try to win and finish my opponent. So I guess we’ll see after the fight.”