After Contending for “KO of the Night” at UFC on FOX 5, Daron Cruickshank Says “That Was Just a Little Taste of What I Can Do”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Daron Cruickshank served up a powerful reminder to casual fans at UFC on FOX 5, as to why you should tune in early for any card, by knocking out Henry Martinez with a vicious head kick. While Cruickshank set the bar extremely high for “Knockout of the Night” honors early on, the lightweight was eventually surpassed by Yves Edwards, who KO’d Jeremy Stephens in less than two minutes.
“As far as just the knockout, it was pretty spectacular, and I felt like if it’s just based on how someone got knocked out, like a headkick, and that’s all I needed, then yeah, I thought I was going to get it,” Cruickshank told Full Contact Fighter, when asked if he thought the KOTN award could be headed his way. “But the Yves Edwards fight had two real tough guys, with more experience than both me and Henry, and I think that’s why they gave it to Yves Edwards.”
Although Cruickshank has his own theory as to why Edwards was granted the award, and he doesn’t hold anything against the UFC for their decision, the 27 quickly admited that he would have loved to received the bonus.
“I mean $65,000 dollars would have changed my life a little bit,” Cruickshank said. “But I’m happy to be in the UFC, I’m happy to have a job, and I’m happy to put on an entertaining fight for the fans. For me, all I can do is go up; that was just a little taste of what I can do.”
The defeat was the just the third of Martinez’s career, and also marked the first time that the Jackson’s MMA fighter was stopped.
“He’s tough,” said Cruickshank, who also landed some telling strikes earlier in the bout before landing the fight ending kick at 2:57 or round two. “I hit him with some hard stuff and he just kept coming like a robot. Hats off to him; he can take a punch, he definitely can, and those body shots were hard.”
“I felt like if there was someone else in front of me taking that they would have been down,” Cruickshank furthered. “Henry had never been knocked out before that either so that just goes to show how tough he is…In the first round I hit him square in the face with a head kick. I wobbled him but I couldn’t finish him. He’s a gamer.”
With the victory, Cruickshank (12-2) extended his winning streak to six and recorded his second official UFC win, after earning a unanimous decision over Chris Tickle in June.
“I feel like I put on a good performance and the fans loved it,” Cruickshank said. “I think I performed to the best of my capabilities…I was a little hesitant at the beginning because he rushed me. I seem to get these guys that rush me, Chris Tickle did that too…but once I got relaxed and hit him a couple of times, he slowed down too, I was able to pick him apart and set up my headkick.”
The highlight reel win caps off a memorable campaign in the brief career of Cruickshank, which also saw him compete on the 15th Season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“This has been a huge finish to 2012; the way that it finished, it was perfect actually,” the 27 year-old relayed. “If I had gone out there and just thrown one kick and knocked him out, that wouldn’t have been as good as getting in a battle, seeing blood everywhere, he’s trying to crack me, I’m trying to hit him. It was just the best way to go. The fans loved it. It was picture perfect.”
And in terms of what type of opponent Cruickshank expects the UFC to send his way to begin 2013?
“The UFC knows what they’re doing so they’re going to match me up with the appropriate fighter,” said Cruickshank. “I don’t think that they’re going to throw me to the wolves and put me up against a high level, pay-per-view fighter yet. Each fighter has each fight get a little tougher and tougher, and that’s how it should be.”