Looking back on his 31-second submission win over Roosevelt Roberts at UFC Fight Night on Sept. 12, not only is the evening a blur for lightweight Kevin Croom, but the whole process of making his UFC debut following 11 years as a pro was as well.
In the span of about 48 hours, Croom went from being on the outside looking in, to fulfilling a career-long dream of joining the UFC.
“The whole thing has been a big whirlwind,” Croom told MMAWeekly.com. “On Wednesday, I didn’t have a fight, just worried about paying bills and money. On Thursday, I get a fight, fly to Vegas, and change my life.
“I had a fight a few weeks back (at FAC 3 versus Anderson Hutchinson), and I felt like I really learned some things in that fight, and I felt like I would be able to implement those things early on in my next fight (against Roberts). It appears I did just that. I think there’s still a lot I can take away from it. Yeah, it was a short fight, but a lot happened.”
For Croom, finally joining the UFC is both an accomplishment and the start of a new journey. As much as he wants to relish what he’s done, he knows the hard work is just beginning.
“I just got a paycheck with more money than I made last year, and I’m expecting a bigger paycheck,” said Croom. “That’s pretty amazing.
“Both of those are true. It is the start of another journey. I am just getting started; however, I achieved what I wanted to do. I have more things to achieve now, but I nailed it. I feel really good. Things are just going to ramp up from here.”
While Croom always tried to keep a positive mindset about his MMA journey, he admits until this point there have been times where he’s doubted things prior to his UFC debut.
“I wouldn’t be doing something so hard and so brutal if I didn’t really believe in it and have faith,” Croom said. “There are certain times that I had more doubt than others.
“There were times where I wondered if I was done, and contemplated what life would be like not fighting, but luckily I moved to Kansas City and got with Glory MMA and James Krause and turned my whole life around.”
As for what could be next, Croom is ready for anyone the UFC sends his way. As long as he gets to fight, it doesn’t matter against who or where, as long as it happens.
“I never worry about the name,” said Croom. “I didn’t know who I was fighting until I was at the airport ready to leave (to face Roberts). It doesn’t matter.
“I’m just enjoying this week. James will get back from cornering people on Monday then we’ll get down to discussing business and go from there.”
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