UFC: Jimmy Crute opens up on mental battles and sleeping in a van

Jimmy Crute sleeps in a car park because the other guy has always been better.

Or at least, this is his fear.

Which isn’t easy to talk about.

So he hasn’t.

Instead, through five years and 12 professional fights, this rising Australian light heavyweight – and now, breakout UFC prospect – has fought those darkest of doubts by training up to three times a day, seven days a week.

Which as it sounds, is almost impossible.

Unless, of course, you start sleeping on the couch at your gym.

Which Crute did – for 18 months.

That dodgy office sofa then eventually replaced this year by a van – “complete with running water and power,” he says – which now boasts permanent lodging behind the 24-year-old’s Melbourne gym.

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Jimmy Crute (right) punches during the UFC 234 Light Heavyweight bout against Sam Alvey. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel PockettSource:AAP

Yet most importantly?

Crute has started talking.

“Because finally,” he says, “I don’t give a f— what people think”.

Undoubtedly Australia’s most exciting UFC prospect, Crute (11-1) is currently on Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island, preparing for what shapes as his fourth Octagon win against Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas on Sunday, October 18.

More than being the biggest fight of his career, the showdown also doubles as the first time Crute will enter the cage convinced he can win.

“Which isn’t easy to talk about,” he admits.

But if you want to know why Crute sleeps in that van behind his gym, he must discuss the doubts.

“Always been bad,” he concedes.

“My entire career, I can recall twice thinking I’d win. The other times, I just went out there.

“Which is … it’s hard to explain … but it got to a point where I’d even be watching street fights on the internet, thinking ‘you’d struggle with that guy’.

“I was in the UFC, a world class fighter, and still didn’t trust my ability against a guy on the street.”

Crute says he has a problem overanalysing the strengths of his opponents. Picture: Mark StewartSource:News Corp Australia

Worse, he was over analysing opponents.

Continually rewatching their strongest attributes until said rivals appeared better than they were.

So to compensate, Crute trained.

“And trained until I couldn’t move,” he says.

“Forever in the gym trying to make up for that perceived lack of talent.”

Which is why, eventually, he stopped going home.

“First, sleeping on a couch,” he says.

“Then this year, I got the van.

“But my schedule, it was stupid.

“I can’t remember a fight where I haven’t overtrained. Or haven’t been sick because of overtraining.

“I was even working out with Cross Fit guys – professionals – and thinking of their schedules, ‘f—, you don’t really train much’.

Crute after beating Sam Alvey. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel PockettSource:AAP

“I was doing seven extra sessions on top of even them.”

Yet it was also during this crazy time that Crute met Tom Frost, a High Performance manager working not out of the fight gym where he slept, but a second gym he was attending for extra workouts.

“So we started talking,” Crute says.

“Together, working on goals, reasons for fighting, all the boring shit people don’t want to hear about.


“But personally, it’s helped — a lot.

“For the first time, I’m believing in myself.”

But as for being cured?

“No, it’s a forever process,” Crute insists.

“Positive thinking, it’s a habit. You can’t just flick a switch.

“But I am at a point now where, when I do start doubting, I can snap out of it.

“It’s why what you’ve seen from me so far, it’s nothing.

“A piss in the ocean.

“Because finally, I believe I can beat anyone.”

Best knockout of the year?

MMA: He may no longer fight in the UFC, but Magomed Bibulatov has put his name in the running for knockout of the year, after sent opponent Rodrigo Praia to sleep with a ridiculous spinning wheel kick.

Originally published asWhy our greatest UFC prospect lives in a van

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