Kris Craig (3-0 MMA) will look to remain unbeaten as a professional mixed martial artist when he steps into the cage against Dillon Tolbert (6-6) at Shamrock FC 331 on Sept. 25. The two are set to meet in a flyweight clash.
Craig said Tolbert is tall for a flyweight, experienced and is tough, but in the end, it won’t be enough against him.
“I don’t think he’s good enough to beat me,” Craig told MMASucka. “He’ll probably want to grapple. I’m just going to knock him out, so we won’t have to mess around too much with anything else.”
Kris Craig on Training With Erion Zekthi
One of Craig’s main training partners is Erion Zekthi, a bantamweight with Shamrock FC who holds a 5-1 record. Zekthi fought Tolbert in June – both fighters’ most recent bout. Zekthi submitted Tolbert with a Von Flue choke in 1:40.
“I get to train with Erion every day, and he fought Dillon,” Craig said. “Put Dillon to sleep sleep. It was pretty quick and effortless. To me, that tells me he’s just not gonna be a tough enough fight. I train with Erion. We spar together. I’m a tougher fight for him than Dillon could ever be. So, also he held onto a guillotine like a rookie, and that’s how he got Von Flue choked.”
Craig has not fought since he knocked out LC Hamid in November 2019. The coronavirus was largely responsible for the layoff, and, at 40 years old, Craig said the chunk of time lost in his career is “hurtful.”
However, Craig feels that training with Zekthi is more than enough to prepare him for Tolbert.
“I get to train with Erion. That’s my fight. Every week. My fight is training with Erion. Not these guys. These guys seem really easy compared to him.”
Kris Craig On Fighting At Age 40
Craig acknowledged he doesn’t have many years left of fighting, but he said he doesn’t have a bucket list, either.
“I do this for fun,” he said. “That’s what these guys should be scared about. They go out and they need this money. I’ve got a good job. I don’t need any of this. I need the competition. What’s more embarrassing for all these guys is, I’m way past my prime. How embarrassing is that? How much better would I be if I was their age? Able to train the way that they train and still learn the things that they learn and move the way that they move. They should all be embarrassed that, not only am I competing with them, but I am beating them.”
Craig also streams on Twitch under the alias “SquatingYeti,” but he has not been as active of late.
“It’s really just been a thing of time, which sounds weird since we’ve all been locked down,” he said. “That was the first time in my life where I really had the chance to be lazy. I wasn’t wrestling, competing in Jiu-Jitsu or fighting. It was kind of a chance to not do anything for a little bit, and I took it.”
Streaming is tough, Craig said.
“You’ve gotta commit the time and be consistent with it. Honestly, this is part of the age thing. I’m too sore when I get done training and too tired to want to put in all that effort right now. In the future, I’ll be back.”
For his full-time work, Craig works in IT where he is paid well and gets time off for fights. When it comes to fighting, he just likes the thrill of competition.
“There’s nothing better than imposing your will on somebody who is trained, who doesn’t want you to, but they literally cannot stop you. That’s the peak of competition. I’m super competitive.”
Craig said he would like to take a fight with a larger MMA organization before he retires, though it isn’t a major concern of his.
Retirement won’t come until Craig feels his body is no longer cooperating, as he’s retained his speed.
“It should be scary for these guys that they’re not getting me at their age,” Craig said. “Because how much faster would I be, how much better would I be [at a younger age]? Unless I just can’t train like this anymore, or if I were to lose two fights in a row bad, or two out of three bad, and I just couldn’t keep up, that’s when I would stop.”
Kris Craig Makes Prediction
Unlike Zekthi, who submitted Tolbert, Craig plans to take a different route with their mutual foe.
“If he stands, it’s going to be a first-round knockout,” Craig said.
Craig said Tolbert is tough and admitted it won’t be easy to put him away. He feels, however, that Tolbert is not ready for him.
“They all say I’m going to wrestle with them. And then I hit them once, and it changes their whole life. I think he’s going to be scared and surprised when a 125’er hits him harder than somebody two weight classes above him could.”
Shamrock FC 331, featuring Kris Craig vs. Dillon Tolbert, is set to go down from the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri, on Saturday, Sept. 25.