James Krause wants to prove he is a top-fifteen UFC lightweight. After all, he’s 2-1 in the UFC and enjoying a 9-1 record in his last ten fights. But he lost via a TKO body kick to Bobby Green in November, and then won after Jamie Varner suffered a brutal ankle injury. That sort of victory is problematic for a guy who wants credit for a legitimate victory. It’s especially troubling considering Varner looked to be getting the better of Krause before a cage side physician stopped the fight. That doctor even accidentally stepped on Varner’s foot while he sat on his stool.
“I can’t do anything about that,” Krause said in an interview with mmaUNDERGROUND. “I did that, I caused the injury . . . I think his toughness overshadowed my victory, which is fine. A very tough guy. But I think now it’s time for me to come out and show everybody that I can compete at this level and it’s not just . . . an injury accident . . . I think this is my time to show everybody that I belong here.”
He’ll have a chance when he fights Jorge Masvidal at UFC 178 on Saturday. Masvidal is 5-1 in the UFC and known mostly for his striking. For some, he may be most remembered for his fight of the night loss to Rustam Khabilov at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3.
All but one of Jorge’s UFC fights ended in decisions, so Krause has prepared for a possible three-rounder. Krause credits that pattern partly to Jorge’s skill at avoiding submissions and knockouts, but also notes that Masvidal “traditionally [is] not a great finisher.”
Interestingly, Krause happened to train at Jorge’s gym just before their fight was announced. He didn’t have any direct interactions with Jorge, but he did train alongside him and with his training partners. Consequently, they got a glimpse of some of his strengths, and Krause speculates they are giving Jorge related advice. But it may not matter too much. “It’s hard to imitate me,” he said. “I’m a pretty unorthodox fighter. I think some of the dangers that I pose are hard to imitate.”
Masvidal aside, Krause offered his opinion about another popular topic of controversy: the hype of Conor McGregor. “This is what I will say,” he answered. “I believe in McGregor’s attitude. I believe he believes what he says. This is not hype. I believe that he really thinks that he is the best. Now, that being said, we’re going to find out on Saturday if he really is that good or not . . . Is he ready for Jose Aldo? Or is he maybe a little top ten, top twenty?”
That’s the question Krause also hopes to answer about himself on Saturday.