by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
World Extreme Championship lightweight contender Jeff Curran recently spoke with MMAWeekly.com’s Al Yu to discuss his next fight, his new gym, and much, much more.
Al Yu: Hi Jeff, how have you been? What’s new in your busy life?
Jeff Curran: Things have been awesome! I am way more busy than usual with all that’s going on in my life, but I think I am managing my time pretty well. I’m trying not to stress over everything. The best thing that has happened recently is my son, Ty Michael, just turned one year old. He was born on March 19, so this is exciting for me. I got him his first Gi for Jiu-Jitsu so I will start getting him used to having it on.
Al: I hear you’re in the process of purchasing a new gym facility. What will happen to your existing gym?
Jeff: Yeah, we are in the process of purchasing a 24,000-square-foot building that will become our once and for all “home.” The building I am in now is leased and it has lots of structural issues with it being so old and I just rent it, so I have to move on. The old place will close down and I am opening up literally a minute down the road. I am looking to expand in many ways and help the gym and entire team of fighters in general reach new levels.
I have been lucky enough to establish a great relationship with Sean Bormet of Overtime Wrestling School and they are interested in opening a second location. Overtime is responsible for producing some of the best wrestlers in the country and actually have their eyes set on a couple Olympic Hopefuls for 2008. With that level of wrestling being inside my walls, they will be adding beginner level wrestling classes and working with fighters as well.
Another thing I am doing (or trying to do) is to find/hire another full-time striking coach. My boxing coach Doug Mango is so busy seven days a week and when I have fights it’s very hard to focus on the fighters that need attention. My first choice would be to hire my friend Shawn Tompkins, but he is so stable working out of Couture’s in Vegas now, that it would be a hard for him to make time. So, if anyone out there is looking for a place to call home and to become a full-time trainer, they can send their resume to my program manager Chuck Pilcher (email@example.com) for me to review.
Al: Speaking of the team, what’s new with the other Team Curran guys?
Jeff: The team right now is very motivated. Our team is very new, very talented and very lucky to have each other for sure. We got Mike Marrello facing WEC veteran and XFO light heavyweight champion Justin McElfresh on April 25 for the XFO belt. We’ve got Bart Palaszewski fighting on April 4 in the IFL. Nate Mohr is rehabbing his knee and he’s doing well along with Ben Miller who is coming off a bad jaw injury.
Our amateurs are all tearing it up and I can’t wait to get them out there to start their pro careers. The newest additions to the team are Tom Belt and Ryan Sturdy from Michigan. These guys work hard and bring a lot to the table. We are focusing on them and hoping for good things out of their future. Mike Stumpf is set for another fight April 25 on XFO as well and we are hoping to sign him soon with a larger organization. Our newest pro is Joe Schlotterer. He is great with his Muay Thai and a very exciting fighter who had a very successful amateur career. Unfortunately, he had a rough first fight as a pro and lost a decision.
Al: How are things going with your fight promotion, the XFO?
Jeff: Well, speaking of the XFO, my cousin Patrick is on cloud nine right now and is all pumped up that Tapout is coming to film his next fight in the XFO for an episode. The XFO was lucky to just have four of its bouts aired on the HDNet show Inside MMA. Patrick and Mike Stumpf both got their fights aired along with Josh Rafferty vs. Kevin Knabjian and Joe Vedepo’s fight.
For me, it’s a dream come true to not just have my younger cousin fight and get our family name some more recognition on national TV, but to have it done in our town and on my show is just a perfect fit. He is slated to face his original opponent, Lazar Stojadinovic, from the last XFO that had to pull out. Lazar broke our teammate Ben Miller’s jaw at Extreme Challenge 86 in a very competitive bout a couple months ago. Hopefully Pat can go out and make us all proud.
Al: You’re used to fighting often. Does it bother you that you’ve had so much down time?
Jeff: I actually thought I would like having some time off, but it has really dragged on. By the time I fight it will be like seven months. Good thing I don’t live just on my fight money, because I would have been broke a long time ago [laughs]. I wouldn’t say it bothers me though. Just getting anxious is all.
Al: You’re slated to fight on the June 1 WEC card. Are you facing Mike Brown?
Jeff: I have been told and Mike has been told that we are facing each other; but we don’t have contracts yet. That announcement will become official (soon) I am sure. I am just so ready to go fight again.
I have heard people saying some of the craziest stuff too. People saying they think I am retired now after fighting Faber. That’s funny. I get a kick out things like that. I had a hard time dealing with the loss to Urijah, but I am ready to move on. I’m ready to continue down my path to being the WEC world champ … regardless of what I have to accomplish to get there.
Al: What do you think of your opponent?
Jeff: I think Mike Brown and I make for a really good fight to be honest. He is very tough, well rounded and has beaten top level competition. I am excited to be fighting him. I asked for a tough guy and someone who wins and wins big. I want to stay at the top level and hopefully get another shot at the champ.
Al: If you are successful in defeating Mike Brown, do you think a match with the winner between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver is in your future?
Jeff: If I beat Mike, I may be right in the mix for another shot at the winner between Jens and Urijah, but I almost would like to have one more fight, if possible, to make sure that I put the pressure on myself and get no easy way to the title shot. That’s just the way I am.
Al: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Jeff: I would like to thank my fans out there, my family and friends, and all my team for all their ongoing support. I couldn’t do it without them in so many ways. Thanks to Tapout, Fairtex and Schwartz Heating for all their support as well. A special thanks to my trainers Doug Mango and Dave Davis of Davis Speed Center for helping me prepare for all my fights and to Pedro Sauer for simply “Showing me the Way”!