UFC 261: Masvidal vs Usman 2: Jimmy Crute sees Anthony Smith as breakout opportunity

Jimmy Crute

Jimmy Crute finally has his big breakout opportunity when he takes on Anthony Smith this Saturday night at UFC 261 on April 24.

UFC light-heavyweight Crute (12-1) is an impressive 4-1 in the UFC after competing in Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series following a decorated career on the regional circuit in which he won three Hex Fight Series championships. 

The Australian standout currently sits at No. 1 in ESPN's list of the top 25 MMA fighters under the age of 25, as well as No. 13 at 205-pounds. Crute's original opponent, Johnny Walker, withdrew from their fight in February due to injury. 

Despite his relatively young age, "The Brute" has already faced some of the best fighters on the planet, besting the likes of Sam Alvey, Modestas Bukauskas, and Paul Craig.

The only loss of his career came at the hands of his old foe turned sparring partner, Misha Cirkunov, at UFC Fight Night 158 in September 2019. 

Since then, Crute has quietly gone 2-0, but will finally get an opportunity to prove why he is considered to be of the biggest prospects in the world when he faces Smith on Saturday night in Florida.

"This is the fight that I asked for," Crute said to MMA Junkie. "Even before I got the Johnny Walker fight, I asked the matchmakers for Anthony Smith. To take this opportunity is a big step, but it’s a small step in the scheme of things. … I feel like a lot of those top guys don’t want to fight an up-and-comer.

"Me and Anthony had a back-and-forth on social media that was very respectful. To me, that showed he was willing to fight an up-and-comer like myself. To me, it was the highest-ranked guy that I thought would fight me and the biggest challenge of a person I thought would fight me."

A victory over the #6-ranked Smith (34-16) should catapult Crute straight into the title picture which is probably where he would have been had he not suffered an inopportune loss to Cirkunov.

Although Smith is a former UFC title challenger, the 25-year-old is ready to prove he is the better fighter in front of a full capacity crowd at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville.

"Yeah, it’s definitely going to be a breakthrough moment – one of many, I hope," he added. "I’m not thinking too much about the moment. I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got to fight Anthony Smith. It’s going to be a hell of a challenge, but I’m not thinking about the moment. I’ll enjoy that after I get the job done. I’m here for business and business only."

Read more: UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2: How to watch, UK start time, live stream & full undercard

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