Daron Cruickshank On John Makdessi’s Striking Game: “It’s Not Going To Be New To Me”
Says Makdessi’s Teammate Mike Ricci Was “Disrespectful” During 2011 Encounter
By Kelsey Mowatt
When fights are announced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, some immediately evoke “Fight of the Night” discussions, prior to the bout even taking place. Typically, the match-ups are set to feature two aggressive or highly regarded strikers, who are more likely to engage in a memorable and action packed war. While the upcoming March 16th, UFC 158 card has no shortage of compelling bouts scheduled, the Daron Cruickshank,-John Makdessi lightweight tilt certainly appears to have all the makings of a“FOTN”.
“I looked him up a little bit when they gave me his name, and the best thing about when they offered this fight to me, they said this is one of the fights that could be “Fight of the Night”, Cruickshank relayed recently while appearing on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “That’s what I’m looking for; I want that bonus. Doesn’t matter which one it is, but obviously I want to make extra money and that’s why I agreed to take the fight.”
Of course, both Cruickshank and Makdessi have forged reputations for being high level strikers during their MMA careers, by using a foundation that includes years of training in traditional martial arts. For example, it didn’t take Makdessi long to make an impact in the UFC, as he knocked out Kyle Watson with a spinning backfist at UFC 129 in 2011.
“I’ve seen his spinning backfist knockout in the UFC,” said Cruickshank, while discussing the abilities of his next opponent. “You know I train for all that stuff; it’s not going to be new to me. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid. I welcome that style of fighting. It’s not like I’ve never done it before.”
After stopping Watson in highlight reel fashion, Makdessi proceeded to drop consecutive bouts to Dennis Hallman and Anthony Njokuani, before scoring a UD win over noted striker Sam Stout in November.
“If you look at my fights, I almost look like a different fighter every single time,” said Cruickshank, when asked if he suspects Makdessi might try to employ the counter striking gameplan he used to outscore Stout. “I work on different things. I’m prepared for a counter fighter, but I’ve done so much training, I’ll feel him out, and what kind of rhythm, what kind of things he’s doing…and I’ll just go from there.”
Cruickshank is heading into UFC 158 armed with a six fight win streak, which includes a 2011, unanimous decision win over Makdessi’s Tristar teammate Mike Ricci.
“Here’s the thing with the Mike Ricci fight, he made it a fight; he wasn’t very respectful to me at the weigh-ins,” said Cruickshank. “I went to shake his hand and he kind of looked down on me. He was being kind of disrespectful throughout the whole fight…I always try to give the utmost respect to everybody, because I know everyone trains hard in this sport, I respect that, and I respect what they bring to the table.”
“So when he did that, Mike Ricci actually made it a fight, it wasn’t a MMA fight anymore,” Cruickshank added. “It was more I wanted to hurt him, and that’s basically what I did for 25 minutes straight.”
More recently, Cruickshank recorded one of his more memorable victories to date, by knocking out Henry Martinez with a vicious headkick at UFC on FOX 5 in December.
“That fight was huge for me,” said Cruickshank. “Not just because it was in the UFC, but the way the fight went; he’s a tough dude. Henry Martinez took a pounding and he just kept coming. That’s what made it a good fight and a great fight for the fans. That’s what people remember me from…that skyrocketed me. I gained like two or three thousand followers on Twitter, I was on SportsCenter, top ten plays of the week.”
UFC 158 will be hosted by the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, and will feature welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre versus Nick Diaz in the main event.