Aalon Cruz made himself known to the fighting world on Tuesday night, delivering a stunning flying knee to knockout his opponent and win himself a UFC contract.
Cruz was facing off against fellow featherweight prospect Steven Nguyen at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, a weekly showcase for non-UFC fighters hoping to garner attention and earn a contract with the company.
Cruz and Nguyen battled for nearly the entirety of all three scheduled rounds, but with just 24 seconds left in the fight, Cruz delivered a flying knee that connected hard, immediately ending the bout in showstopping fashion.
As soon as Cruz downed his opponent, he turned to White, who was sitting ringside, and gestured for a contract. White responded in kind, miming himself holding a pen and paper. By the end of the night, Cruz had his contract.
You can watch the stunning scene play out below.
While Cruz might have exuded confidence in the ring after his win, he admitted to getting emotional after realizing that he had really gotten a contract.
“When I looked at Dana, and I gave him the signature sign, and he was like, ‘Yeah,’ and I was like ‘Oh (expletive!)'” Cruz said, per MMA Junkie. “I didn’t have to really think about whether I’m getting in or not. He just basically told me, ‘Yeah, you’re in.’ So that’s when the emotion came out.”
Impressive knockouts that connect seemingly out of nowhere are a huge moneymaker for White and his company. As Jorge Masvidal’s five-second flying knee knockout in early July proved, one wild finish can take on a life of its own in the sports world, driving a ton of interest for the UFC.
With his own flying knee, Cruz proved to White that he can deliver a similar excitement to the company.
The win moved Cruz to 8-2 in his career as a fighter, but whenever he makes his UFC debut it will undoubtedly be his biggest fight so far. With plenty of talent in the featherweight division, there’s no shortage of exciting matchups for Cruz to take on — especially if he keeps delivering enthralling performances as he did on Tuesday night.