BENDIGO’S Jim ‘The Brute’ Crute is eyeing a home-country Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut in Adelaide later this year.
The 22-year-old undefeated mixed martial artists locked in a four-fight UFC deal, with his ultra-impressive win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series last week in Las Vegas.
Still nursing a black eye a week after his fierce showdown against tough American Chris ‘The Big Buck’ Birchler, but otherwise fit and healthy, Crute is excitedly looking ahead to the next phase of his burgeoning career.
He’s hoping that will include an appearance at a blockbuster UFC event in Adelaide on December 2.
“I’d love to get on the Adelaide card on December 2 – they announced that before my fight (in Las Vegas) and when I saw it was happening, I immediately said ‘when I get signed, I want that’,” Crute said.
“If they offer me anyone (to fight), I’m in.
“I don’t care who it is, I don’t care where it is, I don’t care when it is, if UFC wants me there I’m there.”
Crute’s win against Birchler, a seasoned fighter who went the distance with former UFC light heavyweight champion Matt Hamill in his previous bout, was the Bendigo fighter’s eighth of his career and third by knock-out.
Two of his wins have come via submission and the other three by unanimous points decision.
Despite stopping the 31-year-old from New Jersey at the 4:23 mark of the opening round, he described Birchler as one of his toughest opponents.
“I hit him so hard …. before the knock-out I was hitting him with four-punch combinations and he was just looking at me as if I was stupid for doing it,” Crute said.
“When I stopped trying to hit him hard and hit him clean, that was when I put him away.”
Crute described the stripped-down atmosphere of the Tuesday Night Contender series, which is filmed at the UFC’s training centre in Las Vegas, as like nothing he had experienced before.
“I have only ever fought on HEX and at the one venue they fight in and it’s pretty loud and a bit hectic,” he said.
“The Tuesday Night Contender series there’s about 50 people in the crowd, and there’s Dana White, (UFC talent-relations and matchmakers) Nick Maynard and Sean Shelby cage side.
“There’s no entrance music and no show, it’s all about the fights.
“It was a really cool experience and I would love to do it again, but I’ll be fighting on the louder stage now.”
A UFC contract fulfils a 10-year-long ambition for Crute, who started training in jiu-jitsu at the Stewie’s House of BJJ gym run by Bendigo martial arts guru Stewart Moulden.
Despite these days being based in Melbourne, he continues to train under Moulden at least once a week and was again back where it all began in his home-town on Tuesday, proud it was in Bendigo where the pursuit of his dream started.
“I am so stoked to be representing Bendigo …. I am still getting back to people who contacted me after the fight; my inbox is full,” he said.
“I am so proud to be from here.
“This has been a dream of mine for the last 10 years, but I am not content just getting to this point, I want to take this all the way.”