While it’s not uncommon for a fighter to miss time due to injury or lack of available fights, most layoffs don’t last as long as Curtis Brigham’s. After eight years away from fighting, Brigham returns to MMA on Saturday night at Aggression FC 11 in Winnipeg, Canada.
“Basically, fighting paid my way through university, and once I graduated I decided to get a real job, but it didn’t turn out,” said Brigham. “I ended up teaching full time and growing my gym.
“At the time I started my gym, I didn’t have proper facility or bodies to get me ready for fights anymore, so I felt like I couldn’t really do it. Now I’ve got tons of top 135ers to help get me ready, so I’ve got no real excuses now.”
Brigham says that now is also a good time to come back due to lighter weight classes having more opportunities, which wasn’t so much the case in 2004.
“In the end, I had a couple fights at 145 pounds, but other than that, I was fighting at 155, 170 and even some guys over that because that’s what was available,” he said. “When fights weren’t sanctioned very well, you took what you could get. So having the access to smaller weight classes, you have more fights available. The UFC has 125 pounds now, so the potential is there now.”
Now in his early 30’s, Brigham feels there are a couple differences between him now to then, but isn’t worried his time away from being inside the cage has taken too much from him.
“I’d like to think I’m more rounded and am in better shape,” he said. “I’ve been in the fight game cornering, coaching and training, so I don’t feel I should be rusty, but we’ll see Saturday night.
“I’m not nervous at all. The only thing I’m afraid of is to get stalled out and have a boring fight. I’m not totally results-driven; I want to put on a good show. I’m really hoping I win, but more than a win, I hope we have a good fight and the crowd enjoys it.”
Brigham’s return fight at Aggression will come against newcomer Matt Trudeau.
“He’s got a couple fights, so it’s hard to know what he has,” Brigham told MMAWeekly.com. “In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ll go out and fight my fight and hopefully show I’ve developed in the eight years since my last fight and do well.
“You can plan ahead and make game plans, but in the end, people do what they’re trained to do. People fight the way they do in the gym. I’m going to do what I do and hopefully it will blend well and counter what he plans to do.”
When asked if his fight on Saturday night will dictate his decision to continue fighting, Brigham said, “If I have a win, for sure I’ll do it again. We just opened a new gym, so to be honest, I need the money. It’s not the only reason, but it certainly helps.
“At 135, there are some high ranked guys in Canada that I think I can have some good tilts with. Hopefully things go well and I’ll be able to continue on and have a few more fights by the end of the year.”
(Photo courtesy of Aggression FC)