“You ever heard of Jimmy Crute?” That was Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White’s retort to a reporter at the UFC 234 pre-fight press conference, who committed the unforgivable sin of characterizing the Melbourne pay-per-view event as top heavy. With a full half of the 24 fighters on the card possessing two fights or fewer under the UFC banner, it was undoubtedly an appropriate call to make. But that doesn’t negate the kernel of truth in White’s statement, which is that Melbourne’s own Jim Crute is making a name for himself in the promotion’s talent-starved light heavyweight division.
Currently riding a perfect record of 10-0 with seven stoppages to his name, Crute exploded onto MMA’s mainstream radar last July with a first-round TKO over Chris Birchier on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, which earned him a UFC contract. Five months later, the 22-year-old submitted Scotland’s Paul Craig with nine seconds left of his octagon debut, which he was winning on the scorecards. Chasing a spot on Melbourne’s pay-per-view event on February 10th, Crute was originally matched opposite Ryan Spann — a fellow Contender Series alumni with one UFC fight and one win — but after Spann pulled out, he accepted a late-replacement opponent in Sam Alvey.
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