Despite not losing in his last seven fights, it was the fight that didn’t count that stopped lightweight fighter James Krause dead in his proverbial tracks.
As one of the 32 fighters to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: LIVE season, long-time journeyman Krause was given the opportunity to advance in the show if he could beat fellow lightweight Justin Lawrence, thus gaining entry into the TUF house.
That night in March 2012 didn’t go as planned for the former one-time WEC combatant, and he was TKO’d by a beastly Lawrence in the first-round. A loss that subsequently saw him let go to dwindle back to the minor leagues.
For the 27-year-old, the three-letter circus of regional promotions was something the veteran had become accustomed to since debuting as a professional in 2007. And although the loss to Lawrence didn’t officially count on his record (as TUF fights are technically considered exhibitions), Krause was devastated that his possible one-time shot at UFC stardom was over before truly beginning.
When it was all said and done, not only did Krause have his first Octagon victory, but he also walked away $100,000 richer after earning the “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night” bonuses.
After battling in a back and forth scrap of epic proportions for the majority of all three rounds, Krause secured a guillotine choke on “Hands of Stone” at 4:47 of the final frame, forcing the native Canadian to tap. It was the second-to-latest fight to end by submission in UFC history.
“It’s been a long road for me to get here and I think it was just one of those nights where I was ‘on,’” said an awestruck Krause post-fight.
As he commented from the press conference dais surrounded by the likes of such UFC stalwarts as Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, and UFC President Dana White, Krause talked of being at home, despite having only one fight inside the cage.
“I don’t think anyone could have took this from me tonight,” said the Kansas City native. “I felt great. I felt like I belonged here. Even in Canada and being booed or whatever, I still feel like I belong.”
With a six-figure payday to his credit and his victorious Octagon debut in the books, Krause made a point to credit the 10-year MMA veteran, Stout, as the dangerous and worthy opponent that fans know him to be.
“I knew Sam was going to be really tough to finish,” said the 27-year-old. “That’s why when I dropped him with the knee, I didn’t really go crazy on him. He’s just such a tough dude.”
Krause reiterates that with the crowd rooting on their countryman, he didn’t want to give the judges any opportunity to be influenced by the hometown faithful and their cheering.
“I really didn’t want to go to a decision here,” emphasized Krause.
Krause went from being knocked out on a reality show to being the talk of a numbered UFC event in just over a year’s time – not too bad for the still blossoming lightweight.
With the Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night to his credit in his Octagon debut, Krause assures everyone that this will not be a one-time showing. For him, putting on exciting fights is what he does best, something UFC fans should be on the look out for in the very near future.
“I love to fight for the fans,” he exclaimed. “I’m not out here to get a decision. I want to go out, and I want people to want to watch me.”
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