The Featherweight division across all of MMA is truly stacked. The UFC, Bellator, and multiple other promotions have a plethora of talent at 145. Pat Curran is at the very top of the food chain among the likes of Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Cub Swanson, and Patricio Freire. Curran, the current Bellator Featherweight champion, is on a six fight win streak since moving down to 145. Overall, he is 10-1 in his last 11 fights. After dominating Joe Warren to win the belt at Bellator 60, Curran defeated Pitbull Freire in an incredible fight, and then submitted Shahbulat Shamhalaev in the first round for his second title defense. Curran fights Daniel Straus with his title on the line at Bellator’s first Pay-Per-View card on November 2nd. Most fans are unaware that this fight is actually a rematch from 2009, where Pat KO’ed Straus in the second round. I had the chance to speak to Pat about his upcoming rematch with Straus, his thoughts on fighting on the Bellator PPV, Joe Warren, and much more!
His thoughts on fighting on the first Bellator PPV
It’s great, I am very honored to be a part of it. This is a big step for Bellator for what they are doing as a whole. I have been with Bellator from basically the beginning. It’s been great going through the whole process. I first fought on Telemundo, then MTV and Spike, and now I am on the first Pay Per View event. I could not be more excited.
Fighting Daniel Straus
I don’t think having beaten him before will give me any advantage at all. That fight was such a long time ago. We are both completely different fighters now. Since that fight I think he went on an 11 or 12 fight win streak. He’s been a beast ever since. This fight will be a completely different fight. I think he will be using his loss to me as motivation to push himself and train harder. I am sure he will be 100% ready for this fight, and so will I. As for training, I definitely got into watching film on my opponents. I like to see what combinations they throw, how they move, how they are reacting, and what they are good at. I typically do the same training for each fight, but for this fight I had to tweak a few things. Straus is a southpaw, and he has a long reach, so I have been training with southpaws and fighters with a longer reach.
His pick in the Featherweight tournament final
I said it from the beginning, when the tournament started, that Pitbull would win it. That is not to disrespect Wilcox or any of the other fighters. I just know how bad Pitbull wants that rematch with me. In his eyes, he thought he won the fight between us, and he is pretty upset about it and I guess he loses sleep over it. I know he is motivated and determined to get that rematch.
Life as a champion
My life has definitely changed. Bellator is definitely keeping me busy. I am doing a lot more promotional stuff for the organization. I have done a handful of red carpets and autograph signings. They are putting my name and face out there, which is great. As a fighter, you want and need that recognition. Overall though, my mindset has stayed the same. I don’t want to change too much. You have to stay humble, be yourself, and keep growing as a fighter. I do not let it all get to me, I just keep improving.
His thoughts during the Joe Warren fight
You think that you would have all these thoughts rushing through your head, but honestly I was just in the zone. Everything was blank. I was just doing what I am trained to do. I found my moment and attacked. I did not want to give him any space to recover, so I just stayed on him and kept going. I really did not realize how long it really was until after it was over. It was definitely a late stoppage by the ref though. It is really hard to be thinking about anything else other than reacting to what he was going to do. I was just in the moment and focused on finishing Warren at the time. The Mike Ricci and Marlon Sandro KO’s were somewhat unexpected. When I threw the combination, it landed, and they were out cold. It happened so quick, so you just react and do what you are trained to do. With Warren, he was able to keep his balance, so it looked like he was fighting back, but he was really out cold. His body was just reacting and he was being held up by the fence. My mindset was to keep going until the ref stops, and that’s all I really think about during the fight. I don’t want to hurt someone and then think that it is enough and give them the opportunity to recover and fight back. If I hurt you, I am going to attack you until the ref pulls me off.
Being showcased on the Tapout show
That was really early in my career. It was either my first or second pro MMA fight. It was a really cool experience and I met a bunch of great people. They were basically introducing me to the sport, putting me on television, and showing me the media side of it all. It was my first experience dealing with all that, and it was definitely a learning experience.
His plans on staying at Featherweight and weight cutting
I definitely plan on staying at featherweight. I walk around at 160-162 at most. That’s in shape and training every day. When I am not training or out of shape, I may be pushing 170, but I don’t like to get much higher than that. Featherweight is where I have had most of my success in my career. I feel this is the weight class I belong. You definitely need to know your body and your limits for weight cutting. Your coaches should be helping you too, and know if you can make the weight. You know if something potentially dangerous is happening during a weight cut, your coaches need to be there to step in and stop it. I know my body, and I know how far I can push myself. If you feel like you are going to pass out, you need to get out of there. I have been cutting weight for a long time, since I wrestled in high school. It’s my experience that helps me get through it. I fought at lightweight before, but I had to do a lot more weight training to keep my size on, which puts more stress on my joints, ligaments, and tendons. In the long run, that could lead to a lot of injuries and problems. I feel great at 145, and I can perform that best here.
Who wins: Chandler vs Alvarez?
Man it is a hard one to pick. They are both great fighters. It’s going to be very interesting to see the rematch. Their first fight was amazing, and was one of my favorite fights of all time. I know Chandler is constantly getting better and is in beast mode right now. Alvarez is a very intelligent and motivated fighter. I know he wants to get that title back, and will do everything possible to do that. I can not choose though, it is 50-50 for me right now.
Definitely the Joe Warren KO. Even though it went a little too long, it was the beginning of me being the champion for Bellator.
I can definitely beat Jose Aldo. It is not my thought process right now though, because I am focused on Straus, but it would be nice to consider someday.