When Jimmy Crute steps into the cage against Paul Craig at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 142 in Adelaide, Australia, he’ll become the youngest current fighter in what has become an aged light heavyweight division. His two-and-a-half-year rise from pro debut to UFC is certainly not the norm at 205 pounds.
However, to hear Crute tell it, the journey was a lot longer than the short time he spent as a pro.
“On paper, it is really fast,” Crute told the Top Turtle MMA Podcast on FloCombat. “But I’ve had this goal in mind since I was 12 years old.”
A rare goal for a 12-year-old kid, it was born the same day he heard about the UFC. And all of that happened thanks to a couple of his peers.
“I’ve always done martial arts since I was a little kid,” Crute said. “I started jiu-jitsu when I was 12 and the boys in the changing room told me about the UFC.”
Immediately after hearing their descriptions of people using the skills they were learning to fight in a cage, Crute had to know more. In the secret of his bedroom, he checked out what all of the buzz was about on his computer.
“When I went home that night, I got on YouTube and looked it up,” Crute said. “I just knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.”
Eventually he told his parents of the goal. Despite their unconditional support for him, he acknowledges it probably isn’t the dream they had for him all along.
“I feel bad for my parents—it’s probably not what they wanted their 12-year-old son doing,” he said.
Since that time, Crute has put all of his focus into realizing a goal that is now 10 years in the making—a goal that he will finally realize this Saturday against Craig.
“It’s been a long ride. I’ve put an unbelievable amount of hard work into this,” Crute said.