Following a stretch where he lost five of seven fights, veteran lightweight Daron Cruickshank has been able to get himself back on track by picking up three wins in a row.
According to Cruickshank, the turnaround has come about because he’s been able to put aspects of his game together that he might not have been able to before.
“I think I’m getting pretty good in my old age,” Cruickshank told MMAWeekly.com. “I just turned 33 and feel like I’m getting into my prime. I’ve matured a lot since my UFC days. I’ve got my weight down and my process of preparing for fights. I think it’s all falling together quite nicely.”
Since his UFC release, Cruickshank has spent the majority of the past couple years in Japan fighting for RIZIN. It’s a trip he’s made so many times now that he’s able to work his routine quite easily.
“The flight from Detroit to Japan is always exhausting,” said Cruickshank. “That takes some getting used to. I’ve adjusted pretty well and I’m getting pretty good at it. I try to stay up during the flight and push through it until it’s night time (in Japan) and that’s when I go to bed.
“With the food and stuff like that, I’ll cook my own meals in my room so I can stick to my diet for the weight cut and all of that. I could probably write a book about prepping meals in a hotel room.”
On Sunday in Saitama, Cruickshank (21-10) will face fellow UFC veteran Diego Brandao in a RIZIN 13 main card lightweight bout.
“Diego is one of the tougher guys I’ll be fighting in Japan for RIZIN,” Cruickshank said. “He’s fought on a world level like I have against some of the best guys, but he’s fought at a smaller weight class than I have. He’s stepping up to 155 pounds, which I’ve fought at my whole career. I think I’ll have an advantage there.
“Guys at 155 pounds have a lot more power than the guys at 145 pounds. I definitely feel I’ll be able to knock him out. I feel he’ll get frustrated in the fight like he has in the past. He tries to go 110 percent the entire time and gets tired – and that’s when I’ll be able to knock him out.”
Should Cruickshank come out of his Sept. 30 bout healthy, he would like to fight again before the end of the year. If he is unable to, he will take time to figure out what his next move is; whether to remain in Japan or take his career elsewhere.
“I think RIZIN only has one or two shows before the end of the year,” said Cruickshank. “They have a lot of people they have to give fights. I don’t know if they’ll be able to use me by the end of the year, but if they can, let’s do it.
“I am up for renewal in my contract in December for RIZIN. So either I’ll renegotiate with them or I’ll be a free agent and see what else is out there. I’ve made a good home in RIZIN and I do enjoy fighting out there, so I would love to stick with them. But it’s all about the contract and what we’ll do with it.”