UFC FN 40’s Daron Cruickshank Weighs in on The Cutting Weight Debate
By Kelsey Mowatt
At UFC Fight Night 40 this Saturday, Erik Koch will be looking to build on his successful return to lightweight, while Daron Cruickshank will be doing his best to end the former featherweight’s winning streak at one. It’s a pivotal bout for both men, considering Cruickshank has relayed he hopes to crack the lightweight division’s top ten in 2014, and that Koch is still beginning his UFC run at 155.
In February, at UFC 170, Koch raised eyebrows throughout the MMA world by quickly stopping lightweight vet Rafaello Oliveira. The win returned Koch to the winning column, after he had dropped consecutive bouts to featherweights Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier. While Koch cited the benefits of not having to cut down to 145, after stopping Oliveira, it will be interesting to see whether size and strength plays a factor in his bout with Cruickshank.
“Well, personally, I feel like I’m stronger than anybody else,” a laughing Cruickshank relayed on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing whether he believes he might have a strength advantage at UFC FN 40. “I fought at heavier weights but that was at the beginning when I was up-and-coming. Everybody is pretty strong at 55. I think that he (Koch) may have cut too much weight to make 45.”
“I feel like I could make 45 if I really had to, but, I’d have to get paid a lot of money to cut all that weight,” added Cruickshank. “So, I don’t think I’m going to be bigger than him, or anything like, I feel like we’re going to be the same size. He’s going to be slightly taller, he’s like 5’10 I think, 5’11, so, but most of the people I’ve fought have always been taller than me. So I’m prepared for that.”
Koch’s return to 155 came at a time when the debate over the benefits of cutting weight rages on. While some fighters are electing to drop down in weight class, as a means to gain a size and power advantage, others are opting to cut less weight with the hope of increasing their vitality.
“Everybody’s different,” said Cruickshank, when asked to comment on the ongoing debate. “Some people do it wrong completely. If you know how to do it, if you know how to put it all back on that day, and you feel great when you fight, cut the weight.”
“If you can’t handle that, then, you need to know where you perform best at,” furthered Cruickshank, who is coming off a highlight reel stoppage win over Mike Rio at UFC on FOX 10 in January, after being submitted by Adriano Martins in November.
While it seems like the consensus opinion is that the UFC does not need to add several more weight classes, some have argued that adding more would reduce the number of fighters who are cutting too many pounds.
“I already get confused with keeping track with what we have now,” said Cruickshank. “I don’t really have a say in it I guess. Dana White’s the man, and if he thinks we should have more weight classes, then so be it. If not, then I’m okay with that too.”
UFC FN 40 will be hosted by the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.