Daron Cruickshank (22-13, 1 NC MMA) will return to action when he fights Deivison Ribeiro (27-11 MMA) at Taura MMA 11 on Oct. 30.
Cruickshank believes Ribeiro to be a blackbelt and called him a “banger” on the feet. “The Detroit Superstar” compared Ribeiro to a past opponent, Diego Brandao, who he knocked out at RIZIN 13.
“I kind of see it like that where he’s a bully on his feet,” Cruickshank told MMASucka. “He pushes forward, wants to get into the pocket and exchange. And then either force me to take a shot or himself take a shot and try to get this to the ground. I don’t see him being afraid of me on his feet, but in return, that’s going to get him into trouble.”
Cruickshank signed a one-fight deal with Taura MMA. He still has two fights remaining on his contract with RIZIN FF, but the coronavirus outbreak has prevented Americans from traveling to Japan.
“Being that there’s a national pandemic and the borders are closed down, I can’t get over there to get my fights in,” he said. “I’m just trying to stay busy. I look forward to entertaining a new crowd with Taura MMA and building a relationship with them. But I am also a free agent, so I do what I want.”
Cruickshank’s contract with RIZIN allows him to take fights with other promotions outside Japan.
A move to featherweight could have been in the cards for Cruickshank. However, Ribeiro wanted the fight at 155, according to Cruickshank. It would have been the American striker’s first time dropping to 145. While it won’t be against Ribeiro, Cruickshank very much wants to compete at featherweight going forward.
“After this fight, yes, 100 percent, I want to look at going to 145. I know my opponent has fought at 145 most of his career, so I don’t think he’s going to be a giant of a man at 155 like most of the guys I fight. I’m getting ready for this fight as if I was fighting for a belt. Your next fight is always your toughest fight, and I’m getting ready.”
With COVID-19 restricting travel and halting MMA shows for the better part of the year, Cruickshank has not competed since Dec. 28 at Bellator 237 – a cross-promotion between RIZIN and Bellator that saw him fight Goiti Yamauchi.
“If you look at my career, I try to stay active as much as possible,” Cruickshank said. “Literally every single time I fight, a week later, I’m hitting up the promoter like, ‘Alright baby, put me back in. When can I fight again?’ I would love to fight three to five times a year.”
Cruickshank grew an appreciation for his frugality while he couldn’t fight for the majority of what has been a frustrating year.
“The biggest thing is not being able to work,” he said. “I get paid to fight. There are no fights going on, especially in Japan where I make really good money. So that sucks, right? But if you’re smart, you have other ways to make an income. You also save your money from before. And if you save your money like the big grown-up that I am, then not fighting for six months is not that hard. If I didn’t fight for the rest of my life, then I would have to go out and get a real job. But being a grown-up, saving my money, paying my taxes on time and doing all that stuff, investing in other things, I’m OK.”
Despite the temporary shutdown of Michigan Top Team, which Cruickshank owns, he made it a point to continue training throughout the year. He and his wife worked out using their home gym. Gyms were given the green light to reopen in September by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Cruickshank said he and Ribeiro will likely start getting after it as soon as the opening bell rings. He doesn’t intend on playing an exchange-for-an-exchange game in the stand-up, however.
“I basically plan on taking his body out, because he’s got a stone head,” he said. “Take the body out, make him sick to his stomach, make him tired. Eventually, he’s going to really drop his hands, and I’m going to take his head off. Be it in the first, second or third round, it doesn’t matter. I have power in all four weapons that I have. Both feet, both hands, and I can knock people out with anything I throw.”
Taura MMA 11 is slated for Friday from the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.
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