UFC light heavyweight contender Jimmy Crute last octagon appearance ended in an unusual fashion after he suffered a first-round leg injury against Anthony Smith at UFC 261, but he’s looking forward to ending 2021 in style with a showdown with Jamahal Hill by year’s end.

Crute looked impressive leading up to the injury he suffered against Smith in Jacksonville earlier this year, and still believes he’s on the rise to the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. While it obviously wasn’t the result he wanted, Crute is turning the page to the latest chapter in his career and looks forward to putting on a stellar performance against another tough prospect like Hill.

Crute hasn’t had many blemishes during his young UFC career, with the doctor’s stoppage loss to Smith being only his second defeat in the promotion. A former Dana White‘s Contender Series standout, Crute is one of the brightest stars in the UFC and has all the makings of a potential UFC champion.

During his downtime recovering, he used UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and top contender, Glover Teixeira, as inspirations.

“Two of my favorites right there,” Crute told LowKickMMA about the upcoming UFC 267 showdown. “Two guys that have come back from adversity, two guys who have gone further in their careers than they were supposed to. Those are the sort of guys you gotta look for inspiration when you feel down.”

While an official date and venue haven’t been determined for the Crute vs. Hill fight, his face lit up when asked about how excited he was for the opportunity to fight again after his disappointing start to the year.

When it comes to his fight camp, his strong bond with Australian combat sports legend and coach Sam Greco is a big reason for his early success. Crute said he wouldn’t be where he is today without Grego in his corner.

“Sammy’s the man,” Crute said when asked to describe his head coach. “He’s a mentor to me and is the most loyal bloke you’ll ever meet. We get spoiled a little bit at the gym and I’ve learned so much from him.”

Many in the UFC, including his former opponent Smith, have praised Crute as one of the brightest stars in the sport. Only time will tell before the Aussie takes the next step towards UFC gold.

Do you think Jimmy Crute could potentially be a future UFC light heavyweight champion?