Inside the walls of American Kickboxing Academy are some of the greatest fighters in the world, two of them, Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov have made their cases to be among the very best in UFC history although both now retired. With new talent such as UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev beginning the next breed of potential future champions, names like Bellator MMA welterweight Kyle Crutchmer also come to mind for the next era of stellar fighters to come out of AKA.
Crutchmer, who was a two-time wrestling champion in the Big 12 Conference while attending Oklahoma State University, as well as two-time NCAA All-American, has been one of many wrestlers to jump into the mixed martial arts world and has done so nearly flawlessly. Holding a professional record of 7-1 (3-1 Bellator MMA), Kyle Crutchmer is just getting started in his career, and the company around him in the gym at AKA has helped him realize the path that lies ahead for him to continue a championship legacy.
Without getting too far ahead of himself, Kyle Crutchmer is bounced back from his first professional loss, and got a win in his last fight at Bellator 260, and is now preparing to take on Oliver Enkamp at Bellator 272 this weekend, and facing his first ranked opponent in the division, he understands the opportunity that lies ahead of him, and what rewards could come if he walks away victorious over Enkamp who sits 10th in the division rankings.
Speaking to MyMMANews, Crutchmer talked about the patience he has with his career, his team at AKA, and more.
Known for his expert wrestling pedigree, Crutchmer knows that most opponents will discredit other parts of his game, he said the words do fire him up a bit, but he doesn’t feed into the game of pre-fight talk.
“Yeah, man but I also know it’s a game. I know guys like that have to say things for themselves to make them feel calm, right? Me, I’m not one of those guys that are going to run my mouth, talk bad about dudes, give any predictions. I’ve wrestled thousands and thousands of matches and it truly never goes like you plan most of the time, you just hope that the work you put in and the things you do in training will come out in actual competition. These dudes that say they’re gonna knock me out, the last guy I fought was 9-0 with 9 knockouts, everyone said he was going to knock me out, I went out there and I held him down for 15 minutes, now whether it was boring or whatever, that’s not my job to give a shit about that. If you don’t like watching me fight, tune into someone else.”
With a majority of his professional fights coming under the Bellator MMA banner, Crutchmer is not looking to rush his career and although a win at Bellator 272 could catapult him into the division’s Top-10 rankings, he’s not focused on how quickly he can move up the ladder.
“I know this is the type of situation that can put me into kind of a bigger name or whatever you want to say and get me to the right direction where I can be a world champion. I’m not too worried about any of that, I’m worried about Oliver Enkamp, I’m worried about myself and how I perform, and if everything goes right, then we’ll talk about what’s next. I’m just excited for this opportunity and show everyone the hard work I put in.”
The lineage of names out of AKA are notorious with championships: Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and now Kyle Crutchmer and Islam Makhachev are awaiting their opportunities to make their own respective title reigns. There’s no denying the talent, the training, or the team he has around him, but before the story gets too far ahead, Crutchmer is just focused on one fight at a time.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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