EXCLUSIVE | Jim Crute hopes to be in light heavyweight top-10 with three wins — starting with Paul Craig at UFC Adelaide

Jim Crute
Image: Jim Crute on Instagram / Reebok Australia

Back in July, undefeated Australian light heavyweight prospect Jim Crute earned himself a UFC contract with a first-round destruction of Chris Birchler on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. This Sunday in Adelaide, Australia (Saturday in North America), he’ll make his long-awaited UFC debut against Scotland’s Paul Craig.

The last time Paul Craig was in action, he dazzled the MMA community with an epic comeback win, dodging near-certain defeat by submitting Magomed Ankalaev with a single second remaining in their fight. Jim Crute saw this fight, and he was as impressed as the rest of us. That being said, he assures Paul Craig will have no such victory at UFC Adelaide.

Not only is Crute confident he can thump Craig on the feet, but he also believes he’s more than prepared to handle the Scotsman on the mat, where he is believed to be at his best.

He broke down the matchup on the latest episode of BJPENN Radio.

“That was a good win [over Ankalaev], I watched that,” Jim Crute said of Paul Craig’s last fight. “I absolutely lost my shit when I saw that, it was amazing. Yeah I like Paul, nothing but respect but this is a job and my job is to go out there and smash his head in for 3 rounds or until he gets knocked out or subbed.”

“He’s got some really really good jiu jitsu off his back especially,” he continued. “I think he’s sort of underestimating my grappling because at the start of my career I was known as a grappler, but now everyone looks at me and they think I’m just a heavy-handed striker. I’ve been in jiu jitsu comps with the best guys in the world and held my own and done well so, I look forward to seeing his face when I sprawl on him and I end up on top of him. I’ve got nothing but respect for Paul, he poses some threats there’s no doubt about it. Anyone at this level poses some threats. I feel like we’ve got a good game plan, we just gotta go out there and execute it.”

Needless to say, Jim Crute is confident he has what it takes to stop Craig.

“On Sunday, or Saturday in America, you can expect me just to come out there and fight with everything I’ve got and leave nothing inside the cage. That’s all I’ll claim. And then whatever Paul Craig can take, he can take, but I don’t think he’s gonna be making it to the last bell.”

If Jim Crute is able to finish Paul Craig at UFC Adelaide, he’s likely to earn himself a big step up the proverbial ladder. And while he will understand if the UFC chooses to bring him along slowly instead, he believes it’s possible he can earn a spot in the light heavyweight top-10 after just three fights.

“I just think the UFC [will] wanna sort of push me through, I don’t mind,” he said. “If they wanna hold me back or push me through, I’m just gonna take every fight as it comes. I know I could potentially be in the top ten within three fights. Doesn’t bother me. I’m just gonna take it as it comes.”

Watch the undefeated Jim Crute make his UFC debut at UFC Adelaide this weekend.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/29/2018.