MIAMI — Kyle Crutchmer gets his wish Saturday, June 9, when he makes his mixed martial arts pro debut as part of Xtreme Fight Night 348 at Buffalo Run Casino and Resort.
A former Oklahoma State standout and Tulsa native, Crutchmer faces Jiu Jitsu ace Jared McLoughlin of Owasso in a three-round welterweight fight.
“I have been pushing for that since I got out here (to train in California),” said Crutchmer, who wrestled for John Smith from 2012-17. “I wanted to fight my debut there (in Oklahoma). I wanted to feel some of the pressure. I have always been able to exceed that kind of thing. I thought there were some people who knew me and wanted to watch. That was an area that came up.”
There are 10 bouts — including two to decide titles — on the card, which is promoted by kickboxing legend Dale “Apollo” Cook and starts at 8 p.m.
“Dale Cook has helped me a lot and continues to help me,” Crutchmer said. “That is just something I wanted to do.”
Crutchmer follows in a long line of former Cowboys who have transitioned to MMA.
Probably the best known is Randy Couture, a six-time Ultimate Fighting Championship world champion and only the fourth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame.
He was a three-time All-American as a Cowboy and inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as its Outstanding American this past weekend.
Daniel Cormier, considered by many to be one of the greatest MMA artists of all time, has trained Crutchmer at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California.
Cormier was a two-time NJCAA champ while at Colby (Kansas) Community College and an All-American at OSU.
Other former Cowboys who have had successful MMA careers are Johny Hendricks, Jake Rosholt, Shane Roller and Mark Muñoz.
Crutchmer said Cormier was a big reason he moved to the west coast to train.
“He’s been a big brother with me. He’s guided me through this whole thing,” Crutchmer said.
He said this is something he’s wanted to do since his high school days at Tulsa Union.
“I started getting the itch for it in high school and after college, I didn’t see my wrestling career going any further,” Crutchmer said. “I wanted to keep competing and this was a way for me to be able to get to another level.”
Learning the boxing side of MMA has been his biggest challenge.
“There’s a lot of different things that go into it,” Crutchmer said. “I am still learning. Getting punished and getting kicked isn’t always the greatest feeling. There’s a couple different things that go along with this that have been pretty hard.”
An MMA fight has three 5-minute rounds while collegiate wrestling has three periods totaling seven minutes.
Needless to say, being in shape for wrestling and MMA conditioning are completely different, Crutchmer said.
“Any time you do a different sport the shape aspect of it is going to be little different,” he said. “You do different things in wrestling to stay in shape. As far at getting in shape (for MMA), that will never be an issue for me.”
Daryl “The Reaper” Wilson will defend his XFN lightweight championship against Brazilian Marcio “Locomotive” Navarro in the MMA main event, a five-round XFN MMA lightweight championship fight.
The five-round kickboxing main event pits bantamweight champion Kou Lee against undefeated challenger Tevin “Two Feet” Laskey.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and weigh-ins start at 7 p.m.