The rise of Pat Curran has been something just about everybody has been able to watch ever since the young fighter made his first appearance on the TapouT reality show a few years back.
Since that time, Curran pulled off probably the biggest upset, at the time, in Bellator Fighting Championships history when he defeated former UFC contender Roger Huerta. He then made it all the way to a shot against then Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and despite going into the fight as an over inflated featherweight still managed to go five rounds with one of the top 155-pound fighters in the world.
That’s when Curran started to hit his stride.
He entered the Bellator featherweight tournament in 2011 and reeled off three straight wins, including a dramatic head kick knockout over Marlon Sandro to capture the tournament title before moving on to absolutely crush former champion Joe Warren to win the belt just a few weeks ago at Bellator 60.
With the current streak he’s on, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney looks at Curran as one of the center pieces of their organization and a legitimate challenger to anyone at 145 punds.
“Pat’s a tremendous star on the rise,” said Rebney on MMAWeekly Radio. “He’s an incredibly talented mixed martial artist. He’s got spectacular knockout power, his submission game is so calm and so at ease and at peace with himself. He’s almost like a Tibetan monk in terms of the orchestration of his submission game. He’s got a great wrestling base. He’s just got every piece of the equation.”
No matter what fighters or organizations are out there, the arguments will always be raised how one champion from one promotion matches up with another fighter from a different promotion, and it’s no different when stacking up Curran against the other top featherweights in the world.
Rebney looks at Curran and sees real top level talent at featherweight. The Bellator CEO pays credit where credit it due to current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but when it comes to talent and success, he believes Curran is the fighter most likely to nip at his heels.
“He’s a great guy to have as our featherweight champion. I honestly think that right now in the landscape of featherweight fighters, is he the best featherweight in the world? I don’t know, I think Jose Aldo is a very, very talented featherweight, but I can surely tell you without any question that I would put Pat at No. 2. Pat Curran is the real deal, in every conceivable sense of the word,” said Rebney.
“If everybody on earth started fighting and the weight category was 145 and all the fighting was done, Pat Curran and Jose Aldo would probably be the last two guys standing. I think he’s got that kind of skill.”
As humble as he’s been great, Curran won’t be the fighter shouting to everybody listening that he is the No. 2 featherweight in the world behind Aldo, but he wouldn’t argue with you either. The current Bellator featherweight champ would love the chance to prove he’s the best by fighting someone like Aldo, although realistically he knows the fight probably won’t happen any time soon.
“I respect him a lot and he is the best for a reason, but obviously you want to fight the best, and right now he is the best,” Curran told MMAWeekly Radio about Jose Aldo. “I’d love to get a chance to fight him, but Bellator and UFC are two different organizations and I’m going to be with Bellator for a while, so they’re a great organization and they’ve got big things coming up moving to Spike and big things are happening right now.”
So the argument will likely rage on as long as both Aldo and Curran sit atop the division, separated by promotions, but it’s still an interesting conversation to have.
As for Pat Curran, he’s now focused on his next challenge for Bellator. He will get back in the cage later this year and face current No. 1 contender Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire with the Bellator featherweight title on the line.