UPDATE: Watch Cruickshank TONIGHT on UFC on FOX 8 Live from Seattle Yves Edwards vs Daron Cruickshank
Daron Cruickshank is a UFC fighter. He was a fighter on Bully Beatdown, and he was on the TV reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Daron was born and raised in Michigan. BJJ Legends contributor Sharon Schleif caught up with him at their BJJ academy July 9th, 2013. They talk about the TV shows, preparing for UFC and Daron's heavy involvement in the martial arts.
BJJ: I know you grew up in martial arts; can you give us a little bit of your family history?
Daron Cruickshank: Yes, both my parents were fourth degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do. They both had their own schools. My mom fought professionally, kickboxing and boxing. My dad cross trained in different martial arts, dabbled in savate and the JKD system. Then they popped me out. I'm like a hybrid.
BJJ: What we want to know now is how old you were when you first started competition? Also, when you first started martial arts. Were you raised on the mat?
Daron: Yes, I never really, I don't remember when I started. I just always did it. I was always on the mat with my parents and doing their classes and things like that. I started, I would say, my athletic career in middle school when I stared wrestling.
I started wrestling in eighth grade, and I also picked up swimming. That's where I really got serious with competition. I fell in love with wrestling. I did it all through high school, all through college, and then during the summers and things like that I would train with my dad when my mom was training.
BJJ: You were on The Ultimate Fighter this last year. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience on The Ultimate Fighter?
Daron:The Ultimate Fighter was awesome. I enjoyed every bit of it. It was 13 weeks, my season. Most seasons are six weeks. I did over twice as long as most groups. The biggest thing that was hard is there's no contact with the outside world.
A lot of guys have families, they have kids and things like that. They're constantly wondering what's going on, where I felt, I really didn't think about that stuff. As far as girlfriends, drama, and stuff like that, that was probably the hardest part for most of the people on the show with me.
My biggest problem was there was no music. There's no music whatsoever. No radio, no TV. Have you ever worked out without music? It's hard. Try running on a treadmill.
It's like, you get to the gym, you're starting to warm up, and every time you come in to the gym, you're jogging and you're like "Oh, when's the radio going to turn on? When's the techno coming out?" That was the hardest part for me.
I met Adam about a year and a half ago. I had just started training BJJ and I saw him and some of our fighters working out. I didn’t really think much of it. A few weeks later I was coming to the gym with my daughters, Lilly and Harper, and Adam stopped what he was doing to talk to me and to both of them. Ever since then the three of them chat for a minute whenever they see each other. I asked Adam to spend a few minutes with me and talk about his grapping training with Team Jones while on TUF 17. If you’re looking for any house drama or info about his KO from Uriah Hall it’s not here. What you do have is a glimpse into grappling training during a season of the Ultimate Fighter.