Aussie UFC star Jimmy Crute is no longer sleeping in a carpark — and it’s all thanks to Dana White, and his fists.
Five months ago, Jimmy Crute was sleeping in a carpark.
The UFC light heavyweight went and punched his way into a brand new home.
Ranked among Australia’s most exciting fighters, 25-year-old Crute isn’t simply working his way towards a UFC title shot in 2021, but has bought himself a house after receiving two straight US$50,000 bonuses from UFC president Dana White.
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As revealed by The Daily Telegraph last October, Crute (12-1) has spent the past year living in a van behind his Melbourne gymnasium, and for the 18 months before that, on an old gym sofa, as he threw everything into his rise through the light heavyweight division.
But after a breakout 2020 season, which included consecutive Performance of the Night bonuses, the Aussie slugger has gone purchased a home in the Melbourne suburb of Altona, while also beginning preparations for his next fight against American Anthony Smith at UFC 261 in April.
“So I’m out of the van,” Crute laughed this week.
“And, to be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself.
“Because while this isn’t a rags to riches story — before fighting I had a fairly cruisy life in Bendigo — I have worked hard for everything I’ve now got.
“When I started on this journey, I sold everything I owned to move to Melbourne.
“I gave up a lot and lived uncomfortably for years.
“So to now be where I am, I reckon that’s as good as a rags to riches story.”
After winning his most recent fight against Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas by first round KO, Crute was then pitched into a bout with No.10 ranked Johnny Walker.
Soon after the announcement however, the Brazilian was forced to withdraw with a torn pectoral, prompting a surprise offer from Smith, who sits four spots higher.
The unexpected turn of events has presented a huge opportunity for Crute, who since first appearing on Dana White’s Contender Series has won for of five fights inside the Octagon.
Quizzed on the change of opponent, Crute continued: “Initially when my coach rang me, he said ‘Jimmy I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news’.
“And straight away I said ‘Johnny Walker’s out’.
“He said, yeah, but then told me Anthony Smith was coming in.
“And at first though, it didn’t click.
“I was still going ‘f—ing Johnny Walker, what a pussy, blah, blah, blah’.
“But then after a while I realised ‘hang on, why am I even mad, I’ve got a better fight’.
“I’ve now got a bigger name, a bigger challenge, a bigger opportunity and more time to prepare.
“This isn’t just a win-win, it’s a quadruple win.”
On Saturday morning the UFC officially confirmed Crute’s bout for UFC 261, which will be headlined by a blockbuster women’s strawweight title fight between champ Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas
Elsewhere this weekend, English welterweight Leon Edwards, who is undefeated in his past eight Octagon appearances, faces Belal Muhammad on a UFC Fight Night card.
Should Edwards win, he will almost certainly be guaranteed a title shot.
Which up in the light heavyweight division, is also where Crute eventually wants to put himself.
“If I beat Anthony Smith, and finish him like I plan to, then I’m staring down the barrel of a title shot,” the Aussie confirmed.
“Not straight away, but I’ll be No.1 contender by end of year.
“Although right now, I’ve got one hell of a test in Anthony Smith.
“So I’m not looking past that.
“He’s one hell of puzzle.
“Which is good because I don’t want this fight to be easy.
“I don’t want my rise to be easy.
“And even Anthony Smith taking this fight, it shows he doesn’t give a s—.
“He’s a bad motherf…er and I have a great deal of respect for him.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try and kill him.
“Or that he won’t try to do the same to me.”