By KOTC Staff
This Friday night King of the Cage Canada will return to Edmonton, Alberta, and fans throughout the region will get another opportunity to catch one of the promotion’s more resilient and experienced fighters in Elmer Waterhen. The Canadian Middleweight Champion will take on another established veteran in Joe Cronin, who will make the trek north from Arizona to compete in one of “Obsession's" feature attractions.
“I honestly don’t know if he’s a stand-up guy or more of a ground guy,” Waterhen said, when asked to evaluate Cronin, who he will battle at Edmonton’s Mirage Banquet Hall on November 18th. “I only saw clips of him on Youtube. I don’t say anything bad about anyone else, but I don’t think his striking is as threatening as I thought it would be. But I heard he’s been training with Shannon Ritch, so he’s probably pretty good on the ground.”
While Cronin is also, interestingly enough, coming off a TKO stoppage victory over Ritch in October, the American has scored several submission wins in the last few years.
“Personally I like the striking aspect of it,” said Waterhen, when asked if he would prefer to keep Friday’s bout with Cronin standing. “The longer it stays standing the better I seem to get. The first round, it’s just a warm-up, second round I start to wake up, third round I’m kind of awake, and by the fourth round I’m definitely awake.”
“I also feel like my limbs are a little longer than most guys, so I feel like my reach will be better than his,” Waterhen added. “Don’t get me wrong though, anything can happen in a fight.”
On Friday Waterhen will compete for the fourth time in 2011, bringing to an end another busy fighting campaign, despite all of the veteran fighter’s other commitments.
“Lately I’ve been working, going to school and being a single parent, so finding the time to train has been difficult,” Waterhen conceded. “I’ve still been able to train at least four times a week...I’ve definitely improved my striking ability and my ground, I’ve been working with a lot of good guys, so I’ve improved my ground skills as well.”
In September, Waterhen further demonstrated why he’s widely considered to be one of KOTC Canada’s toughest competitors, when he agreed to move way up in weight and fight Zach Blaber. Despite being outmatched in strength and size, Waterhen managed to battle Blaber to the score cards and lost by split decision.
“The day of the weigh-ins I was 200 pounds and 2 ounces, and that was with my clothes on, soaking wet” Waterhen reported. “I think the night of the fight I was 193 and he was around 220 or something like that. Fighting at heavyweight, I was overwhelmed by his strength, but on the technical front I think I dominated striking...After looking at the fight though, I still give it to him.”
The defeat was Waterhen’s first since July, 2010, and ended a three fight win streak which included victories over Jason Gorny, Brad Stewart and “Samurai Khardassian.”
“I think the reasons for winning and losing with me is that I always give it my all in any fight,” said Waterhen, who has fought UFC veterans like Jesse Bongfeldt, Rory MacDonald and TJ Grant during his eight year long career. “Even if I lose, or win, I still like to go in there and duke it out with anybody they put in front of me. I don’t look past anyone at all; I just go in there and do my best. I don’t go in there to beat my opponent up; I go in there to beat my fears up.”
And Waterhen’s prediction for his bout with Cronin?
“It can go either way. It could be his night, it could be my night. If it goes for the long run I would expect that I’ll finish it standing if it goes to the third round.”
“I’d also like to thank Mitch Clarke,” Waterhen added. “For helping me out with my training and giving me good advice before and after my fights.”