Regardless of how dominant someone can be in an athletic sense, unless they are mentally as sharp as they are physically going into a competition, all the training and natural talent in the world might not account for anything.
As he recently told MMAWeekly.com, heading into his Bellator 145-pound title defense against Daniel Straus, his mental focus wasn’t there. As a result, he ended up losing a unanimous decision to a fighter he had knocked out four years prior.
“The main thing was I wasn’t me. I wasn’t the Pat Curran everybody was used to seeing,” he said. “The reason why was that I was going through a lot of personal issues at the time and my head wasn’t in it. I was just mentally not there and it definitely showed during the fight.”
The loss was so devastating that, for a time, Curran contemplated stepping away from active MMA competition.
“I was at a point in my career after the fight where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep fighting or not,” said Curran. “I was really considering quitting and finding a different career. I was really confused and not sure what I wanted to do. It was a pretty rough time for me after the fight.”
Luckily for Curran, a recently retired MMA fighter, who happened to also be a family member, stepped in to help him pick up the pieces and get him ready for a third and deciding match with Straus this Friday in Hammond, Ind.
“My cousin Jeff really stepped up,” said Curran. “He saw how much (the loss) affected me and how much it hurt me losing the title and just knew there was something going on. He told me he was going to do everything he could to fix that, get me back on track and getting me back to being a world champion.
“He’s put a lot of time in to my training and made sure I’ve got the right training partners and that I’m peaking at the right time and am not over-training myself. By far this is the best camp I’ve had with my cousin and Team Curran.”
With his cousin by his side, Curran is certain that his third match with Straus will mirror their first bout much more than their fight last year.
“I’m going to be a completely different fighter,” he said. “It’s not just strategy-wise, but mentally I’m in the right place now. This time I’m more motivated than ever. I’m going to go into this fight with that anger and am just going to let it unleash on Daniel.
“I’m real pissed that I let myself get to that point of losing the title and everything I worked for. I want that title back. I put way too much time and effort into my training – into this sport – to let it go all away and walk away from this sport. I’m going to get that title back.”