The 26-year-old is ready to put his body on the line when he challenges “Soldierboy” for the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) middleweight title and the fighter, who goes by the moniker of “Tinkerbell” – unusual for a man who steps into a combat arena – knows exactly what he is up against.
“Look, Garreth is a brilliant champion and he’s done a lot of good. I know he’s the face of EFC Africa, so I know that I can’t let it go the rounds,” Kruger said ahead of the showdown, alluding to his intentions of knocking the champion out.
“He’s the best of everything, so I know that I have to have a flawless game if I want to take this title,” he added.
Kruger is unbeaten in the hexagon in five fights and earned his shot after submitting Tumelo Maphuta at EFC Africa 22 last year with an armbar in round one coming from an unlikely position.
It’s his ability to grab victory by the scruff of the neck that has made him a contender and, coupled with his work ethic, has given him enough confidence to rise to the challenge that McLellan poses, although Kruger admits that nerves do play a role.
“A fighter who tells you he doesn’t have nerves before a fight is going to lose. It keeps you awake and on your toes but I’m feeling calm and confident and I think this is going to be a good fight for the fans to see,” said Kruger, who spent part of his training camp brushing up his skills in Thailand.
“Thailand is my home away from home. Some of the best coaches in the world are there and I’m training with a lot of team-mates who fight in the UFC ,” said Kruger, adding that he more than ready for his shot at championship glory. “It’s a complete game and I’m a complete fighter.”