Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran was brought into the sport of MMA by his cousin, UFC and WEC veteran Jeff Curran. And, it was at his older cousin Jeff's Northern Illinois gym that Curran spent his entire career, from his first Jiu Jitsu class to winning, defending and winning back the Bellator 145 title.
To prepare for his title defense rematch against Patricio "Pitbull" Freire this Friday at Bellator 123, however, Curran made the decision to move his camp to Texas and train with UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks' Team Takedown. "I've been in Arlington, Texas with Team Takedown for the last eight or nine weeks. They've been really pushing me hard here and I get the full attention of coaches and team members," Curran tells Cagewriter.
What's more, the 27 year-old, says he enjoys being so close to his parents during fight camp. "My parents live about forty minutes away from the gym," he says.
"I came down here after the loss to [Daniel] Strauss I went through a rough patch with depression (for more from Curran on how he's battled and managed his depression, check back in Friday morning) and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life and whether I'd continue to pursue MMA. I found my way to Team Takedown while I was here and one of the coaches contacted me to help out a fighter of theirs. I decided to stay and do camp here."
Though Curran gives Team Takedown rave reviews, he says the decision to leave his cousin's gym was a difficult one that he still struggles with. "It was definitely a tough thing," he says.
"It is still a tough thing. Everyone at Team Curran doesn't agree with [my decision]. But it got to the point where, I'm my own person and they have to respect that. It was still a hard decision to make. You spend all your career at one gym, especially when your family owns it...but you kind of have to be selfish, in a sense. I have to worry about my career. You have to do what you feel is best."