Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cronin on Waterhen: “He Looks Like a Tough, Old School Veteran, And That’s What I Am”

By KOTC Staff

After fighting professionally for nearly a decade and having fought over 30 times, there’s likely not much that American veteran Joe Cronin hasn’t seen inside a MMA cage. The same could probably be said of his next opponent, King of the Cage Canadian Middleweight Champion Elmer Waterhen, and Cronin likely wouldn’t disagree.

“I don’t know too much about him but it looks like he’s an old school, well rounded, veteran,” said Cronin about Waterhen, who he will fight Friday, November 18th at the Mirage Banquet Hall in Edmonton. “I watched a few videos of him--my trainers did more of the research as far as gameplan—but he looks like a tough, old school veteran, and that’s what I am. I’m really excited to fight him.”

When KOTC recently caught up with Waterhen, he also conceded that he didn’t know too much about Cronin, but based off what he had seen, he believed Cronin may be more of a threat on the ground.

“I like to stand and bang and I also like to ground-and-pound,” Cronin noted. “I feel like I have a good overall game. I’m not an Olympic boxer and I’m not a BJJ blackbelt, but I have a pretty good ground game and stand-up game as well. I just like to fight wherever the fight calls for. I feel comfortable in that.”

One thing Cronin hasn’t seen is the nation of Canada, and although the Arizona fighter realizes that Waterhen will likely have some Western Canadian support Friday, he’s looking forward to the trip.

“I definitely know that he’ll be the hometown favorite,” Cronin said. “I’m used to it. Whenever I go out of town to fight I know I’m the underdog or people aren’t cheering for me. I’m just really looking forward to fighting him.”

“The elevation might be something different so I’ve been putting in my road work,” Cronin added. “But it will be my first time in Canada so I’m really excited; never been there, so, I’m expecting to be the underdog. I really don’t know too much about Edmonton, other than looking at the map and seeing that it’s pretty much straight north from where I am now.”

This Friday’s bout will mark the second time Cronin has fought in less than one month, as on October 22nd, he stopped established veteran Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch in the second round. Although the win ended a two fight losing skid for Cronin, it came against one of his long time friends.

“I’ve known Shannon for about ten years and I’ve trained with him often for the last ten years,” said Cronin about Ritch, who as a result of the stoppage could not be cleared to fight at KOTC Canada’s “Obsession”. “I’ve always looked up to him as he’s the second most active fighter in MMA.”

“We had a couple of opportunities to fight in the past but we’ve always declined,” Cronin furthered. “This time we both had a couple of opponents drop out due to injuries, or something happened, and we were a week out from the fight. We just decided that we would fight and keep it in the cage. It was really an honor to fight him.”

The win over Ritch was Cronin’s first bout in 2011, after the veteran fought five times in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

“I took some time to really go back to training and take a break from fighting,” said Cronin. “I actually had one pro boxing match during that time, which ended up being a draw. I just wanted to get back to the basics and really focus on training before I fought again.”

And Cronin’s call for Friday’s tilt with Waterhen?

“I don’t like to say it, but probably a decision,” the Arizona fighter predicted. “I’m expecting a three round war with this guy. Hopefully I can finish it sooner, but I’m giving him respect;  it doesn’t look like he gets knocked out very easy.”