Jimmy Crute has numbers on his mind — specifically the rankings, breaking into them, and fighting ranked opponents, starting with UFC Vancouver.
Vancouver, BC — Undefeated Australian light heavyweight Jimmy Crute is in the biggest fight of his career this weekend at UFC Vancouver.
Yes, the next fight is always the biggest. But for Crute (10-0), winner of three straight in the UFC, opponent Misha Cirkunov has something he covets: a number. Specifically, a ranking. Cirkunov is ranked 15th in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. With a win, Crute is likely to break into the rankings himself.
That’s why he’s in Vancouver, and not the upcoming UFC 243 card in Melbourne, Crute told reporters including Cageside Press on Thursday. “Numbers. Ranked opponent. That was basically it.”
“I wanted to fight Misha in August, then turn around for Melbourne,” Crute admitted. “But Misha wanted to fight here, which, I don’t blame him.” If he had the pull, he’d do the same, Crute suggested. “Because he’s got the numbers, he’s got all that, he gets to decide where we fight. So we’ll do that.”
Crute is in Canada for the first time, and certainly seems to be enjoying Vancouver, promising to return on vacation at some point. As for the travel complicating his weight cut or his training, “not at all,” said Crute.
“My weight cuts are very, very easy,” he said. “At the end of the day you can sit here and complain about having to travel, but I get paid to go travel the world and fight, two things I love doing.”
And he will be at UFC 243 in some capacity. “I’ll be in Melbourne, I just won’t be fighting. I’ll be the drunk guy sitting at cageside screaming obscenities,” he joked. At least, we think he’s joking.
Speaking of weight cuts, it’s a practice that baffles Crute. “I don’t understand why people cut [so much weight]. You see all these middleweights coming up to light heavyweight and having success, you see all the welterweights going up to middleweight and having success. I don’t see the point in it.”
“I’m not saying the weight cuts are easy. I mean they’re easy compared to most people. I still have to cut a bit of weight,” he admitted. “I am a big guy. A lot of people think I’m small for light heavyweight, until they get a hold of me and try and grapple with me. Then they go ‘oh hang on a second, you’re actually a decent size for light heavyweight.'”
As a result, light heavyweight is where Crute will stay. “I don’t ever plan to move down to middleweight,” he said. With one caveat. “If I ever lose a few fights in a row and it’s because guys are bigger than me, I might think about it.”
He’s willing to welcome those invading middleweights to the weight class, Crute added. “I’ll fight anyone. I don’t care.” Although once again, it’s a numbers game for Jimmy Crute. “After this fight, after I beat Misha Cirkunov, anyone with a number next to their name is fair game.”
Watch the full UFC Vancouver media day press scrum with Jimmy Crute above!