UFC’s Daron Cruickshank Talks Timeline for Return, Rematch With KJ Noons, After Undergoing Eye Surgery
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although the KJ Noons-Daron Cruickshank fight at the TUF 20 Finale ended on a scary note, the latter says he’s ready to rebook the bout a lot sooner than most probably expected.
The lightweight fight was ended in the second round, and declared a no contest, after Cruickshank was left bloodied from an accidental poke to the eye. Cruickshank could be heard saying he was having difficulties seeing out of the eye, and it was reported not long after, that the fighter had undergone surgery.
Thankfully, however, Cruickshank’s vision will not be impaired following the incident. The fighter relayed on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently that the surgery he had was to repair a torn tear duct. When “The Detroit Superstar” was asked about whether he’d like to face Noons again, the noted striker responded:
“I would like to fight him in two, maybe three months,” Cruickshank stated on the latest edition of the podcast. “The sooner the better. The doc basically told me you have three weeks to let the stitches heal. You can train, but you can’t have any contact. So I can do mitt work, bag work, drills, stuff like that, and as soon as those three weeks, you can get into a camp, you’re good to go.”
“So I would like to see a Daron Cruickshank-KJ Noons rematch in two months,” furthered Cruickshank, who was coming off a unanimous decision win over Anthony Njokuani heading into the TUF 20 Finale. “If Dana White and Joe Silva let it happen.”
The December 12th bout was stopped, in fact, after Cruickshank had taken two pokes to the eye. According to Cruickshank, the first one cut him on the outside of the eye, but the second one proved to be the fight ending blow.
“I couldn’t see anything above a certain point,” Cruickshank said, while discussing the effects of the second eye poke. “Everything was blurry in my left eye, but after a certain point, I couldn’t see. When you’re fighting, you’re chin is down, you’re looking through your eyebrows. That’s hard.”
“Now could I have ever had tried to finish the fight? You can always try to finish a fight, but I would have to fight different…I would probably have to switch southpaw, constantly circle to my right, and protect my eye with my left hand, and that would not have been, definitely not safe…I was warming up. He was going to get knocked out.”
Of course, this is not the first time a bout has ended prematurely due to an eye poke, and is further evidence as to why the UFC needs to use new gloves. The promotion has said they plan to commission new gloves that should reduce the frequency of eye pokes, but they have yet to be introduced.
“I never get poked with boxing gloves on at practice,” Cruickshank stated, half jokingly, while discussing the need for new gloves. “I think it will change the sport a little bit…there’s a bunch of different gloves out there, as far as like training gloves, with more padding, it’s hard to open your hand and stuff. But no matter what, if you’re fingers are exposed, you’re going to get eye pokes.”