Daron Cruickshank enters his RIZIN 14 bout opposite Damien Brown on a four-fight winning streak, and he’ll be looking to tie his career record for consecutive wins with a victory over Brown.
“The Detroit Superstar” is unbeaten in 2018 with all three wins coming via stoppage in RIZIN. He most recently KO’d fellow UFC veteran Diego Brandao with a flying knee at RIZIN 13. It was one of the best wins of his MMA career to date.
“This year has been really good to me,” Cruickshank told MMASucka. “[A win over Brown] would be the end-cap of the year. A lot of my fights are highlight films. I don’t expect anything else from that. I’ll have real strong negotiating terms after I win this fight.”
Cruickshank said his RIZIN contract is up after RIZIN 14. He intends to renegotiate with the Japanese promotion, but said his decision will ultimately be financial.
“I’ve had a great run with RIZIN,” he said. “Hopefully, they know what I’m worth, they appreciate my ability and they hook me up right. Then I’ll stay there. That’s all that matters to me.”
Cruickshank has gone 5-2 with RIZIN, with every bout ending in a finish. He’s won in violent fashion in each victory with the promotion: a flying knee KO over Brandao, a left head kick KO over Koshi Matsumoto, tapping Tom Santos with vicious elbows from mount, soccer kicking Shinji Sasaki, and rear naked choking Andy Souwer.
He feels his exciting style will not only help him negotiate a new contract, but that it’s also endeared him as one of Japan’s favorite foreigners.
“When I first came in, I was fighting all Japanese dudes,” Cruickshank said. “Now that I’ve got that out of my system and I’m fighting all these other international fighters, now they can for sure root for me which is totally understandable. I think I’ve built a pretty good fanbase out there and guys want to see me win.
“I like having a support system. Now that the Japanese fans know who I am and know what to expect, they want to see me fight.”
Cruickshank vs. Brown
Cruickshank expects his streak of violence to extend to a fifth straight win when he fights Brown.
Brown enters the fight on a three-fight losing streak in the UFC to the likes of Dong Hyun Kim (“The Maestro,” not “The Stun Gun”), Frank Camacho and Vinc Pichel. In his time with the UFC, Brown defeated Jon Tuck and Cesar Arzamendia.
“I’m definitely not underestimating him,” Cruickshank said. “I know he hasn’t won a couple of fights in awhile, but I was on that same streak and then I started destroying dudes.”
Brown told MMASucka in a previous interview that he expects the fight to play out in the pocket instead of kicking range, to which Cruickshank said is fine. In fact, the American is ready for anything the Australian throws his way.
“A lot of guys figure out that the best place to fight with me is in the pocket or close-up just like Brandao did,” Cruickshank said. “But I’m getting pretty good at it. I can see [Brown] trying to take me down. Or I might force a takedown. I don’t even know, the sky’s the limit. This could be a good fight and I’ll react to whatever he does. I’m not worried about staying long, or getting in the pocket or taking him down.”
RIZIN 14 goes down on Dec. 31 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Viewing details are still being discussed.
Edit: MMASucka’s Mike Skytte recently reported that FITE TV will feature RIZIN 14.