Daron Cruickshank‘s next fight will mark a slew of new experiences for him: A fresh face for an opponent, his first time competing under the XFC banner, and a new weight class for him.
Cruickshank (23-13, 1 NC) is set to take on Guilherme Faria (16-9 MMA) at XFC 45 on Friday, Aug. 6, in a featherweight bout at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Daron Cruickshank vs. Guilherme Faria
Cruickshank, who has competed at lightweight for the majority of his professional MMA career in organizations like the UFC and RIZIN, is cutting to 145 pounds to take on Faria. Faria has largely competed as a featherweight in his career, though his last MMA bout was at bantamweight in a loss vs. Andre Soukhamthath.
“I think I’m going to be a much bigger person than him,” Cruickshank told MMASucka. “As long as I do it right and correctly, my weight is falling off me right now, it’s crazy. I’m on a strict, crazy diet. I see the weight cut not really doing much as far as hindering me. I think I’m going to completely dominate this guy. I don’t think he’s ever fought a striker like I am and a guy who’s fought at the levels I’ve fought at. I just don’t see the fight going well for him. It’s not that I don’t respect him. But I just think I’m such a better fighter than him.”
The majority of wins secured by both Cruickshank and Faria are knockouts. Of “The Detroit Superstar’s” 23 wins, 14 have come by way of T/KO, compared to Faria’s 9 of 16. However, Cruickshank does not consider Faria a knockout artist in the same vein as himself.
“He’s only done it with his left hook or overhand,” he said. “I’ve done it with all kinds of weapons: left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand. I really just have to watch out for those leaping, crazy, Brazilian-style left hooks and overhands.”
Cruickshank’s taekwondo base has led to flashy knockouts from most of his limbs over the years. A flying knee against Diego Brandao at RIZIN FF 13 and head kicks of Henry Martinez, Erik Koch and Koshi Matsumoto stand out.
Daron Cruickshank Dropping to Featherweight
At lightweight, Cruickshank found he was consistently fighting opponents bigger and taller than him. His last six or seven cuts have been easy compared to earlier in his career, where he admits he wasn’t as disciplined. A weight miss against Beneil Dariush in the UFC in March 2015 motivated Cruickshank to improve the weight-cutting portion of his camps.
“It really starts six, eight, nine weeks out,” he said of cutting weight. “I’ve always been pretty tough and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll just tough through it and cut 20 pounds of water.’ I’m not like that anymore. I’m trying to get down within 10 pounds or under before I even start my cut with extreme dieting, eating healthy, and running. Before I was just pretty bullheaded and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll just dehydrate myself 20 pounds.’ Now, I’m starting way longer out. I’m way more strict in my old age of 36 years old in my diet. I actually feel really good. And it’s awesome. I can’t wait to perform.”
During his last few cuts to lighweight, Cruickshank said an hour in the sauna followed by floating the last two pounds overnight would get him on weight.
As of Wednesday morning, the Michigan native said he weighs 158.2 – just a few pounds over the limit of his old lightweight stomping grounds. Cruickshank said he has followed a strict keto diet with varying lengths of intermittent fasting.
“I can’t even keep the weight on me. I still feel good. I’m still getting all the nutrients and food I need to train hard. I’m just amazed at what I’m doing is working so well.”
Cruickshank has not fought since a unanimous decision win over Deivison Ribeiro in October 2020.
Signing with XFC
To return from the layoff, Cruickshank said he signed a one-fight deal with Xtreme Fighting Championships to take on Faria. Cruickshank was at his teammate, Bobby Nash‘s, last fight with the promotion when he saw how well the XFC ran its organization.
“You can’t really see it on TV, but being in the back and seeing how people are organized and respectful and take care of their fighters is a huge deal for me,” he said.
The XFC heading to Michigan was also a big deal for the state’s home-grown talent. Cruickshank has not fought in Michigan since he knocked out Alex Trevino at KOP 58 in September 2017.
“I haven’t fought in Michigan in so long,” he said. “It’s really nice to get in front of a hometown crowd and be able to put on a show for your family.”
Daron Cruickshank’s Patriotism
When Cruickshank began fighting for RIZIN FF, he embraced the entertainment aspect that comes with competing in Japan by letting the American come out of him: Red, white and blue outfits, different types of mustaches and walking out to “Real American” as a shout out to Hulk Hogan or James Brown’s “Living in America” from “Rocky 4.”
With Cruickshank set to compete against a Brazilian at XFC 45, he plans to bring the American act stateside.
“I’ve always been an American boy. I love guns. I love freedom. And it’s easy to go with, because it’s who I am, anyway. I just keep carrying it around.”
Cruickshank is still open to competing with RIZIN, but it hinges on when Americans will be able to compete in Japan again due to the coronavirus pandemic. The American said he “absolutely loves” fighting in Japan, as well as soccer kicks being allowed under the ruleset. So much so that Cruickshank wants to see soccer kicks allowed stateside under the unified rules of MMA.
“Right now, my career is right about stepping down to 145, reamping it and wherever I can get paid the best,” he said.
Should a quick finish of Faria materialize at XFC 45, Cruickshank said he is ready, willing and able to compete more in 2021.
“As long as I do my job, make the weight correctly, put the weight back on correctly and then pull the trigger, I don’t really see it going past the first round,” Cruickshank predicted. “Obviously, I’m looking for a finish. That’s what I do. Probably knockout first round, some time. If not the second round or third round, I don’t even care. I’m not one to pass up a submission. I’ll take what I can get. But the best feeling in the world is knocking somebody out.”
XFC 45 is set to go down Aug. 6 and is due to be aired on Fox Sports 2.
Daron Cruickshank and Guilherme Faria will be part of the main card of XFC 45, which will be headlined by welterweights Bobby Nash and LaRue Burley. XFC YoungGuns 3 will serve as the preliminary portion of the card.
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