He hit like a truck. In the sport of mixed martial arts, it’s a common analogy that fighters use to describe the punching power of their opponents. It emphasizes just how hard a fighter hits. However, enduring a punch and being hit by a truck are two completely different situations. Just ask Storm Damage featherweight title contender Peter Cross. In August of 2013, he learned firsthand what that common phrase means in a literal sense.

“My mate was dropping me off at the pub, and as I hopped out of his ute [truck], I leant down to grab my phone and keys and stuff and shake his hand, and he just started yelling, ‘Look out! Look out!’ and he was beeping his horn. I looked up and a truck was coming and it pinned me against the ute,” Cross explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I was just kinda like, ‘Holy shit!’ I gathered myself pretty well after it happened. We went to the doctor straight after, and they were pretty surprised I wasn’t too badly hurt. I didn’t have any internal injuries or anything. It shifted my pelvis, so there were some aches and pains with that. I was pretty lucky, and I was able to go back to training a couple of months after it.”

It wasn’t until Cross relocated from New Zealand to Australia that he decided to take his training seriously. It was 2008. The years spent fighting for what could be perceived as the wrong reasons as a teenager could be put in the past. Cross was making a new life for himself and his family.

“I’ve always loved fighting. I used to get bullied a lot at school and found myself hanging out on the streets trying to be tough and stuff like that. I wasn’t really that grounded as a teenager—I was a bit lost,” he recalls. “Me and my best mate would go out partying and stuff like that, and we’d get into fights and go out to represent our clique and all that kind of stuff.

“It was the reason I started MMA once I was established in Australia. My friend also started doing MMA back home in New Zealand. Even though we are in completely different countries, we have both started fighting professionally, and it’s exciting. MMA has helped me ground my life. It has given me more discipline and helped me mature more as a man.”

Although his .500 record could be seen as less than desirable, the 24-year-old still has time to develop as a professional fighter. One of his losses came at the hands of former Storm Damage welterweight champion Ali Kocak in a fight where Cross moved up two weight classes. Don’t expect him to replicate that anytime soon.

“I did that as a bit of fun,” he said with a laugh. “I thought that I would give it a shot. I mean, when I weighed in, I couldn’t even make 77 [kilos, 170 pounds]. I think I ended up weighing in at like 75 [kilos], and that was with my jacket, clothes and shoes all still on. I didn’t win the fight, but it was a good experience for me. [Featherweight] is where I should be fighting.”

The next test for Cross inside the cage comes at Storm Damage 4 on March 22. He competes in the promotion’s one-night, four-man eliminator gauntlet for the Storm Damage featherweight championship. With a renewed focus on training, Cross is eager to notch up back-to-back wins and walk out of the cage with a championship belt to show for it.

“I’m not really thinking too much about opponents or anything like that. It doesn’t really faze me,” Cross admitted. “I just need to go in there and focus on myself and make sure that I perform. [Mixed martial arts] is something that I love. I love fighting, I love training and I just love everything about it. I definitely want to make something of it, and I just want to work hard enough to take it somewhere.”

It may have been just seven months since Cross was nursing the injuries from his accident, but the New Zealand native is eager to once again enter the Storm Damage cage. The one-night elimination gauntlet that Canberra’s Storm Damage has built its reputation on is the perfect chance for Cross to show that nothing, not even a truck, can get in the way of him continuing his development as a mixed martial artist.

Peter would like to thank his sponsors: Raven Fightwear, UYS and TN Scaffolding. He would also like to thank Storm Oshyer and everybody at Storm MMA who has helped him prepare for his upcoming fight.

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.