With the Aussie MMA freight train currently in full motion, Bendigo’s Jimmy Crute wants nothing more than to be a part of it.
Undefeated with seven wins, the light-heavyweight prospect will compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this week. An impressive performance in front of the UFC boss could see the 22-year-old pick up a UFC contract, a dream that Crute has had ever since he first laid eyes on the sport.
“Everybody knows this has been my dream since I was twelve, that’s when I first saw the UFC and first decided that’s what I wanted to do,” Crute said.
While few twelve-year-olds are likely to have dreamed of fighting in a cage for money, Crute has had a dogged determination in turning his childhood dream into a reality.
Since making his professional debut in 2016, Crute has done it all on the local scene. From quick first-round wins to five-round wars, Crute has proven himself to be a tenacious fighter who thrives the tougher a fight becomes.
“I’ve got four first-round finishes in under however long and all I heard was wait until he gets tested, wait until he gets tested,” Crute said.
“I’ve proved in my last two fights that you can test me all you want I am not going to break. I’ve got no problem taking people out in one minute and I’ve got no problem dragging people through hell.”
Nowhere was this more evident than in Crute’s latest performance while defending his Hex light-heavyweight title against South Korea’s Doo Hwan Kim. Crute put on a dominant display dropping his opponent three times in the first two rounds but the Korean’s granite chin kept him marching forward.
“I sort of knew after the third round that I wasn’t going to knock him out,” Crute said.
“I kneed him full-blown as hard as I could to the chin and I think I woke him back up with the ground and pound. They have brick implants in their heads and you know what? I really enjoyed it, it was good fun.”
The win proved for the second time in a row that Cute could have his mettle tested and still come out on top. It also demonstrated Crute’s true love of getting into a firefight, something that clearly caught the attention of the UFC brass.
The latest win ultimately set Crute up with the opportunity to have the chance to earn his childhood dream, something Crute admits is surreal.
“It’s so weird. When I signed the contract and Dana White has signed the other side of it, it’s sort of a pinch yourself moment,” Crute said.
“To be here now and have it within arm’s reach, it’s crazy. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a job to do and it’s not just about winning, it’s about putting this guy away impressively. Dana White does not care if you win and it’s a boring fight, he won’t have a bar of you.”
Crute’s assessment of the situation is not wrong. While the shiny carrot of a UFC contract looms for all contestants on the show, nothing less than an outstanding performance will be enough when UFC President Dana White and matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard are watching cage side. And the reality is that even an outstanding performance does not guarantee a contract, something that is not lost on Crute.
“What’s good about it is that all my paperwork with the UFC is done now,” Crute said.
“Now, at any moment they can sign me up for a short notice fight and all my medicals and all that are done. If I win and don’t get a contract, I’ll just keep beating up everybody in Australia and just come back.”
Jimmy Crute (7-0) will fight Chris Birchler (7-3) on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series in Las Vegas on July 25th, which is a Wednesday in Australia.
My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook. I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.