Following his UFC release in 2016, lightweight Daron Cruickshank has rejuvenated his career with a move to the RIZIN promotion in Japan, securing wins in five of his seven bouts with the promotion, plus an additional victory in the KOP promotion.
In particular the last year and a half has been especially good for Cruickshank, as he’s picked up four straight victories, with finishes in all four bouts.
“This year has been great,” Cruickshank told MMAWeekly.com. “Everything has been working out in my favor in these last four fights. I really kind of feel like it’s me learning the ins and outs of what I need to do to be successful in MMA.”
Cruickshank’s finish streak comes as a result of his style, which at times can be a double-edged sword. Still, he feels that the way he fights is what helps keep him employed, so there’s nothing wrong with having a do-or-die fighting style.
“I think you can always do better,” said Cruickshank. “You’re always your toughest critic, but I think I’ve performed really well. I’ve finished these last four fights as well. If you look at my career, I either knock guys out or get knocked out trying.
“This is a spectator sport and I think I put on exciting fights. I don’t like guys who go in there and fight safe and just try to eke out a win. That’s not my style. I put on exciting fights, and I feel like that’s why I have a fan base and why I feel I have a job today.”
On December 31 in Saitama, Japan, Cruickshank (22-10) will look to keep his winning streak going when he faces Damien Brown (17-12-) in a main card 154-pound bout at RIZIN 14.
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“He’s basically a striker and I’m basically a striker,” Cruickshank said of Brown. “He’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. I think I’m going to be faster than him, and once I start hitting him he’s going to try to take me down.”
Should Cruickshank pick up another finish to close out his 2018, he feels like he’ll set himself up for a very profitable year in 2019 no matter what promotion he finds himself in.
“The sky’s the limit,” said Cruickshank. “I go knock this guy out and my negotiating ability will be a lot better for 2019.
“This is my last fight on my contract, so either I negotiate a new one or go somewhere else. RIZIN takes good care or me and I fight a lot for them, so I’d love to renew with them, but for real I need to go where I can get the most money.”