by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
Jeff Curran has never taken the easy road. The “Big Frog” has worked hard his entire career to be where he is today. He has sacrificed so much and dedicated his life to the sport.
Since signing with the WEC, Curran insisted on facing the best competition available. The former Shooto Americas champion has been battle-tested over the last decade and wanted to make a significant impact before his career comes to an end.
Curran looks to rebound from three consecutive losses and is determined more than ever to get a much-needed victory at WEC 42 on Sunday night.
“I am training hard and smarter than ever right now,” said Curran. “I didn’t travel. I feel best after all my experimenting, being right at home, in my gym with my team. I made a few key improvements to my training and my training staff as well.”
In preparation for his big fight, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt brought in Marcelo Garcia and Royler Gracie to assist in his training.
“Marcelo came here to help me prepare for my fight and offer some of his ground knowledge for sure. I had Royler Gracie here dictating all my training. He is a huge help and has stepped in to help ensure a victory on Aug. 9 should this fight hit the ground.”
At WEC 40 Curran made his debut in the 135-pound weight class. He reflected upon his move as a positive experience.
“I love the weight class. I have no plans to go anywhere else. It forces me to eat healthier and push the cardio as well. No negatives.”
Curran fell short in his foray despite a good transition to bantamweight, losing a hard fought decision to up-and-comer Joseph Benavidez.
“All I can say is Joseph is a tough son of a B for sure,” commented Curran. “However, in the fight, between round one and two, I told my coach Doug Mango that I felt flat and I could not seem to move my legs and my jab hand. I just felt off and set in motion a series of negative thoughts in my head during the fight and I think that took me away from finding a way to win. Not to mention, like I said, Joseph is such a competitor and he keeps coming.”
Cage Force lightweight champion Takeya Mizugaki made his World Extreme Cagefighting debut in April against 135-pound kingpin Miguel Torres. A last second replacement for the injured Brian Bowles, Mizugaki pressed forward with the champion and fans were treated to a war. After five rounds, Mizugaki fell short of his dream and lost a close decision to Torres.
“I think he had a great performance. He proved he is a contender for sure,” commented Curran.
Known for his wrestling and powerful striking, Mizugaki utilizes his size and strength to overpower his opponents and finish strong with strikes. Going into this fight, it would appear that Curran’s Japanese counterpart will have the advantage in size. The “Big Frog” thinks otherwise.
“Not at all,” responded Curran. “I don’t care about those type things at this weight. I fought my whole career at 155 and some at 145. That won’t be a factor. I am a decent size 135’er too, just not in the reach department.”
With a record of 11-3-2, Mizugaki is considered one of the Top 10 bantamweights in the world. Curran’s back is against the wall with three tough consecutive losses on his plate.
“This match is the most pivotal fight of my career for sure. Which, given the circumstances and my losing streak, hate saying that (laughs), I would say yes it is also my biggest and most important fight of my life.”
With pressure building, has the thought of losing crossed Curran’s mind? The response was an emphatic, “no.”
He is more determined than ever to win, to prove that he still has what it takes to be a top contender. A victory over Mizugaki would catapult Curran back into the bantamweight mix.
“It would mean that I am destined to be champ and that the past is just that… the past. It would mean that everyone in the division needs to be afraid of what’s to come with me. It will be my official arrival as originally intended.”
Jeff Curran has made it well known that he wants to fight the best and the level of competition in his past three matches have been indicative of his pursuit to be the best. The 11-year fight veteran wants to be remembered as “somebody who didn’t quit. A champion who proved that anything is possible; that chasing your dreams and realizing your own potential is the only way those dreams can live and breath forever in your life.”
The stage is set for two talented bantamweights on Sunday. Jeff Curran brings his wealth of experience into arguably the biggest fight of his career. Despite what some consider to be an insurmountable pressure to win, the Big Frog remains focused on the goal ahead.
“I would like to tell all my fans out there that have supported me over the years that I am sorry for my shortcomings and for any sadness that may have set in after seeing me fall short these last three fights. I want them all to know that I promise I will never give up in this game until I can end on top. I want them to be proud of me, to support me more than ever right now because I need them in my corner on this one.”