Looking back on his loss to Daniel Strauss last November, which cost him the Bellator featherweight championship, Pat Curran feels that the major problem he had in the bout was that he was not mentally prepared.
Things were not going well for Curran during preparations for the fight and just continued over into the match itself, costing him the win and the title.
“I didn’t have a great training camp. I was having some issues and I mentally just wasn’t there,” Curran told MMAWeekly.com. “It showed in my performance.”
Curran was able to put things together when he and Strauss met for a third time in March, winning by submission just 14 seconds before the fight reached its time limit.
“Daniel had one of the best performances of his life (in December) and he’s an animal and a great fighter, but I was able to get a rematch and take it,” said Curran.
“I had a great training camp. Mentally I was focused. I was ready for that fight. If anything, I was motivated to get my belt back. Your mental state is pretty much half the fight if not all of your fight. And you’ve got to be prepared when you’re fighting at this level.”
Curran (20-5) will have his second straight rematch when he defends his title against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (21-2) on Sept. 5 at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Curran knows it’s easy to become too caught up in changes someone might make heading into a rematch, so he feels he has to anticipate anything.
“It’s one of the things you can kind of sit back and over-think because you really don’t know,” he said. “You can’t go into a fight expecting one thing to happen and then they do something completely opposite. As a fighter, you’ve got to be ready for any situation and react on it.”
Curran is sure of one thing; he’s got to have a stronger performance than the one that got him a close split-decision victory when he and Freire fought in January of 2013.
“I’m working to finish this time,” said Curran. “That last fight was really close and I don’t want to put it in the judges’ hands again. I’m looking to go out there, make a statement, and make sure there’s not going to be another rematch after this because he doesn’t want to fight me.
“I want people to know when you sign to fight me that it’s going to be one of the toughest fights of your life.”
Now that he is champion again, Curran’s goal is to not only remain so, but also to continue to develop and grow in the sport.
“At this point in my career I just want to be the best fighter I can be,” he said. “Just keep climbing the ladder and improving. You can always keep growing and learning. That’s my end goal – to be the best fighter I can be – and in every fight I have, you’re going to see a better Pat Curran.”