Jim Crute returns to the HEX Cage this Friday June 23rd to make his fifth appearance for the Aussie promotion, this time with the intention of having the light heavyweight title strapped firmly around his waist.
At just 21 years of age ‘The Brute’ has come leaps and bounds since his professional debut in February of last year when he finished Ben Kelleher via armlock in the first round in devastating fashion. If fight fans didn’t know who the young upstart from Bendigo was on that fateful night they did now.
With his first title victory looming Crute has his sights firmly set on propelling his career to the next level.
“It does and it doesn’t (feel surreal). My original goal was to be either fighting for my first title or signed by the UFC within two years of my debut. It’s been 16 months and I’m not just fighting for a title but for the most respected title in the country under HEX,” Crute told Fight News Australia.
His opponent is a familiar foe in Ben Kelleher. Whilst there have been three fights since then, and three impressive victories, Crute is not taking him lightly but feels the outcome will be much the same.
“I feel the result will be the same but the execution will be much cleaner. He has made improvements but I am a completely different fighter compared to 16 months ago.
“The improvements I’ve made have been mostly mental. A year ago I didn’t have much self-belief. My physical improvements, obviously my striking, everyone has seen and talked about that but people should be just as concerned about how much my grappling and Jiu Jitsu has improved as well.”
Kelleher has dropped two losses since fighting Crute however has recently managed to fight his way back into the win column. In his last outing against Jeff King just ten days ago he finished the bout via submission in the second round.
The Kiwi is a late replacement after two opponents pulled out but that hasn’t changed Crute’s game plan. However he did have this to say about the division:
“They were all offered a title shot and only one took the opportunity. Need I say more? Am I the best? You’ll see on June 23rd.”
HEX FS 9 takes place on June 23rd live from Melbourne Pavilion and screening on FOX Sports.