It’s been 10 long months since Pat Curran won the Bellator featherweight championship, knocking out Joe Warren in the early part of the third round of their fight at Bellator 60.
Curran is finally headed back into the cage at Thursday night’s Bellator 85, opening the promotion’s launch on Spike TV. He’ll put his belt on the line, following a prolonged absence, when he steps in the cage across from Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
Ten months out of action might leave many fighters questioning whether or not there will be ring rust heading back into action, but Curran has no such worries.
“I'm not gonna have any ring rust. I still have the momentum from my last fight,” Curran boldly stated on MMAWeekly Radio. “Even though I got injured, I was improving and jumping levels. That extra time off, I'm even better than I was before. I took full advantage of my time off.”
Not only did he work hard to improve his game, even if there is some ring rust, Curran’s should only be surface rust. Pitbull is the one who may face the type of ring rust that creeps its way below the surface. He’s been out of action twice as long as Curran.
The Brazilian earned his shot at Curran’s belt well before Curran ever won it. Pitbull has been sidelined since May of 2011, twice as long as the champion.
Curran leap frogged the current challenger when Pitbull broke his hand, forcing him out of the fight with Warren. Curran took full advantage, capturing the belt, but now gives Pitbull his due title shot when they meet on Thursday night. The two were originally supposed to fight at Bellator 73 last year, but Curran's injury derailed that fight.
Of course, even though Pitbull has been out longer, that’s no guarantee that he’ll be any rustier than Curran.
“It's hard to really tell how he's gonna come in,” Curran said. “I know he's really itching to get back in there. I'm seeing the worst-case scenario where he's not gonna have any ring rust.
“That's what I want from him. I want 100 percent from Patricio and have no ring rust and we'll just put a great show on for the audience.”
As you might be able to tell, Curran loves what he does. He just loves to get in there, fight and put on a good show for the fans.
His cardio is up, has gas tank is sitting on full, and he’s raring to go, not just for Pitbull, but for what he hopes will be a busy 2013 now that Bellator has made the move to Spike TV.
There is also another challenger, Daniel Straus, the Season 6 tournament winner, waiting in the wings for the winner of this fight.
And Curran plans to be the man to give Strauss his shot.
“I'm not looking past Patricio at all, but 2013 could be a very busy year for me. I could knock three fights out,” he stated. “That's what I want, I'd like to have at least three to four fights a year.
“Things with Bellator, we're only getting bigger. We're signing more talent and putting on more tournaments.”
As long as he does his job, the fights will come, but right now Curran is focused on Pitbull. He won’t promise anything other than giving the fans something to talk about.
“When I'm in the fight, I want to put on an exciting fight, that's just my style of being aggressive and looking for the finish,” he stated, “but if I don't see the opening I'm not gonna push for it and make a mistake.
“I'm gonna find my openings and hopefully I can put him away, and if not, it's gonna be a long five rounds and it's gonna be exciting.”