by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
World Extreme Cagefighting on Monday confirmed a June 1 bout between Rich Crunkilton and Donald Cerrone.
The fight will take place at the ARCO Arena, as the promotion once again hits the road, this time stopping in Sacramento, Calif. It is the WEC’s most ambitious venue to date. The arena has a capacity of just over 17,000.
The WEC plans to fill those seats with fans of hometown hero Urijah Faber, the current 145-pound divisional champion and No. 1 ranked featherweight in the world. He faces one of his toughest challenges to date in former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Jens Pulver.
The bout between Crunkilton and Cerrone is likely to determine the No. 1 contender for the WEC lightweight title currently held by Jamie Varner.
Making his return following an eight-month suspension for testing positive for a banned diuretic, Cerrone feels he is more than ready for the challenge a veteran such as Crunkilton presents.
“I’ve had eight months,” he said, referring to the length of his suspension, “so I should be okay.
“I’m not really in a hurry for a title shot or to get anywhere in my career, really. I’m young, I’ve got time, but I’ll gladly take it if that’s what the WEC wants.”
When his suspension was handed down, Cerrone said, “I just want to get past this and move on… get back to training and come back stronger and better.” And that is what he has focused on over the past several months.
“I’m actually glad the commission suspended me,” stated the undefeated fighter. “Because it means they’re looking out for us, trying to keep it safe. I mean, I’m not happy that I got suspended, of course, but I’m glad they’re looking out for us.
“It’s allowed me time to work on my game. I’ve been training really hard at (Greg) Jackson’s and I’m working with Duane Ludwig, as well.”
Originally coming from a kickboxing background, where he held a record of 22-0-1, might Cerrone be looking for his first mixed martial arts knockout after finishing all of his opponents thus far by submission?
“Tell Crunkilton not to take me down and we’ll go.”