Following an eight-year retirement, Canadian bantamweight Curtis Brigham’s return to MMA last year with a win was a great human-interest story, but the story didn’t end there.
Not content to merely fight again and step back into the coaching ranks, Brigham is making a full go of it. He has now achieved greater heights than he did in his career prior, winning the Aggression FC 135-pound championship in Winnipeg, Canada, this past Saturday night.
“In a way it feels like my first true MMA fight,” said Brigham of his win over Mike Adams.
“Before my hiatus, I was more one-dimensional and most of the time it was just me hoping my grappling skills were better than somebody else’s. Whereas this one, I was unsure of what was going to happen, but I was comfortable everywhere and my game planning was able to change on the fly as I was able to read him better.”
While Brigham felt like a much more developed fighter than he ever had before, getting the submission victory just over a minute into the fourth round wasn’t any easier.
“(Adams) was an unusual, unorthodox, strong fighter,” said Brigham. “But I felt like I meshed well with him and I felt I could wear him down a bit on the fence and do some damage.
“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to submit him. He’s got incredibly thick limbs and he was very flexible and fast. I’m glad it was a championship fight, because I needed that fourth round to sink in the arm bar.”
Brigham told MMAWeekly.com that winning the title was made even more special by doing so in front of his hometown crowd. And the fact that he’s receiving recognition for his accomplishments since his return is a significant change from when he was initially fighting back in the early 2000’s.
“It feels great to get attention and some press on it,” he said. “Before, so many fights I had didn’t get noticed. Some of them were smaller (shows), but the media surrounding many of them was so much smaller, nobody got noticed unless you were at the very peak of it.”
For now Brigham is intent on making a run of things and seeing how far it can take him this second time around.
“I won’t quit while I’m on top,” he said. “I’ll defend my title and keep defending it as long as I can until somebody ends me or I get a call to a higher show.
“When I started back in 1999, the thought was always in the back of my mind that some day I would make it to the big show. At least this last win got me one step closer and hopefully I got some attention and it works out one day.”
(Photo courtesy of Keith James Photography)