Daron Cruickshank (22-11) will return to fight in his home state of Michigan for the first time since September 2017. “The Detroit Superstar” fights Jackson-Wink prospect Chris Brown (3-1) on April 24 at WXC 77: Warrior Wednesday 2.
Cruickshank will be looking to get back in the win column after having his four-fight win-streak snapped at RIZIN 14 against Damien Brown. He had stopped Diego Brandao, Tom Santos, Koshi Matsumoto and Alex Trevino before the loss. The UFC/RIZIN veteran didn’t find a spot on the upcoming RIZIN 15 card, so he took a short notice fight against Brown.
Brown’s best win came over 3-1 Blake Smith but lost a split decision to 16-7 Thomas Gifford. Cruickshank had never heard of Brown before the fight came together, but he recognized him as a good athlete from a big camp.
“I think that the beginning of the fight will be him rushing across the cage trying to make it a street fight for the first round or whatever,” Cruickshank told MMASucka. “I’ll hit him and then he’ll start to slow down. After I weather that storm and I get in my rhythm, the fight will be over.”
Cruickshank predicted he’ll knock Brown out. The only question is which round the finish will come.
“If you look at my career, I knock a lot of people out,” he said. “That’s obviously what I’m going to try to do. It could be the first round, it could be the third round, it just depends on what he gives me.”
While Cruickshank would like to right the ship after a submission loss to Brown in a fight he was winning in the stand-up, he’s not overthinking it. Win or lose, he just wants to put on a show for the fans.
“I don’t like to lose, but I’m not stressed about it,” Cruickshank said. “If you look at my career, I normally lose and then I go on a four-fight knockout streak. Then I make a stupid mistake. My career’s been up and down, but every single fight has been exciting. That is why I still have a job wherever I want to go. And that’s why people still want to see me fight.”
Sometimes, there’s added pressure for a fighter when he or she fights at home. That’s not the case for Cruickshank.
“It’s really cool to fight in front of my fans, friends and family,” he said. “It’s just another day in the office for me.”
The last time Cruickshank was at home, he earned a comeback TKO head-kick victory over Trevino. Before that, it was his pre-UFC days.
Following his UFC departure, Cruickshank has mostly fought for RIZIN, a budding Japanese promotion regarded as PRIDE reincarnate. The Michigan native has gone 5-3 with the promotion and is seen as one of its top lightweights.
Cruickshank’s RIZIN Stint will Continue
Though he won’t be appearing on the upcoming RIZIN 15 card, Cruickshank stated that he approved a contract extension with them. He will likely compete next at RIZIN 16 in July. He has the rest of his 2019 planned out from there.
“RIZIN is having a tournament coming up in my weight class,” he said. “I’m going to try to get into that. So I go get this win [vs. Brown], I get in the tournament and then I go get a RIZIN Grand Prix title.”
Cruickshank said he enjoys fighting for RIZIN, noting that Japan is a cool country and appreciates the support of the locals. The only bad part of the deal is the 13-hour flights. He said he kills the time by playing online games and looking at guns he wants to buy when he gets home. The guns make up a significant portion of his Instagram and YouTube content.
Before he goes back to Japan, however, his next assignment is Chris Brown. WXC 77: Warrior Wednesday 2 goes down Wednesday, April 24. The event will be live-streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
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