Kevin Croom will no longer be known as The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly.
Heading into UFC Vegas 20, Croom has let it be known that he’s now the artist formerly known as The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly. Instead, or more accurately, during the event’s virtual media day, he noted that he’ll now be Kevin “Crash” Croom.
In a sense, it’s for marketing purposes. When it comes to his old nickname, “that’s a mouthful. It’s hard to say. I bet you don’t get anybody going to HardHittingHillbilly.com,” Croom observed, speaking to Cageside Press. “Crash, it’s nice and smooth, man. Like a car crash.”
That’s no doubt what Croom (21-12, 1NC) is hoping for at UFC Vegas 20. A car crash, with Alex Caceres on the wrong end of things, and Croom himself walking away unscathed. There will no no witnesses, of course, at least not at the UFC Apex. While vaccinations for COVID-19 continue, the sports world isn’t ready to open up just yet.
Croom, however, isn’t missing the crowd too much. “I don’t care about anybody else. I do this all to entertain me, this is all for me,” he exclaimed. “The fans are cool, but it still feels just as great, and the checks cash just the same.”
That “all for me” attitude only goes so far. Croom remains a team player, at one of the sport’s rising gyms, Glory MMA in Kansas. “It is my time to shine, but the Glory takeover continues,” noted Croom. “Julian [Marquez] started off really nicely, [Darrick] Minner did a great job, and here I am to just keep the whole thing rolling.” Under the tutelage of James Krause, Glory MMA has slowly crept up into the upper echelon of fight camps in the sport. Just like Croom slowly worked his way into the UFC.
Now a veteran of the sport, Croom had over 30 fights prior to his arrival on the big stage. But he never doubted his abilities. “I always believed I could be here, all I always believed I could could do it,” he said Thursday. “I always told myself ‘keep going, you’re ready!’ And now I know. Everything I told myself for years, when I couldn’t pay the bills, and all that stuff. I was right. I was correct. So now that I know, that makes me f*cking dangerous!”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 virtual media day scrum with Kevin Croom above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.