VANCOUVER – UFC light heavyweight Jim Crute said he’s never taken more than one week off from training in the three years he’s been a pro MMA fighter. So when he didn’t immediately get his third UFC booking, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself.
“I was like, ‘Ah, this is so boring,’” Crute told MMA Junkie before a pivotal fight against Misha Cirkunov at UFC on ESPN+ 16, which takes place Saturday at Rogers Center. “It was like, put me in.”
To be clear, the Aussie native had asked for time off after his previous bout. Apparently, he didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
After lolling about for a while, Crute eventually discovered it wasn’t such a bad move after all.
“I just feel like I’m a different fighter than I was in February,” said Crute, who turned heads – including UFC President Dana White – by knocking out Sam Alvey in his second octagon outing in February.
For a guy who considered himself “a punching bag that punches back,” taking time off meant he could work on fight strategy. It meant working on technique, and healing from injuries. And it meant some well-deserved rest and relaxation in tropical Bali.
“I got really fat, which was nice,” he said. “I got to eat all the food and drink all the beer. It was hard coming back. But as soon as I hit my stride, I took off.”
Crute said he used his time to take his game to the next level. And when the UFC eventually came calling, he didn’t have to miss out on his other request: a ranked opponent.
Cirkunov, 32, currently resides in the promotion’s top-15, and Crute aims to crack the top-10 this year. He figures a win over the hyped Russian is enough to bring him marquee opponents. He stops short of a bout against the winner of Johnny Walker vs. Corey Anderson, but somewhere in that neighborhood.
At 23, Crute has more than enough time to go around. Maybe even time for a few more vacations.
“Johny Walker’s in his prime,” he said. “I’m still four years off my prime.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Why getting fat and waiting to fight was Jim Crute's best move