Turning Pro Last Year Ushered Kailin Curran into the UFC’s New Strawweight Division

November 20, 2014

After three years in the amateur ranks, Hawaiian native Kailin Curran turned pro in 2013 and so far the move has proven successful. In three fights, Curran is undefeated, having taken unanimous decision from all her pro opponents so far.

It’s her time as an amateur that Curran feels is one of the reasons why she’s had a good start off to her career so far.

“I had a few solid fights before turning pro,” Curran told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought long and hard before I made the move of turning pro because I knew that once I did (turn pro), everything I’d do would matter.

“My first couple fights were pretty challenging. They were perfect for me to gain experience.”

Curran also feels her relocation to California has played a big part in in her career, which has her on the cusp of making her UFC debut.

Admittedly, when Curran was first handed the contract by her manager, it was an overwhelming experience.

“My manager Ryan gave me my contract and I looked at it and was like, ‘What is this?’” said Curran. “Then I saw it was a UFC contract and I was just in disbelief. I was really happy and cried tears of joy. It was an awesome moment for me.”

Curran (3-0) was initially slated to make her UFC debut against fellow newcomer Paige Van Zant (3-1) on Oct. 3. A Van Zant injury necessitated a delay. The two will now fight this weekend at UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin, Texas.

SEE ALSO: UFC Fight Night 57: Edgar vs. Swanson Event Page and Fight Card

Leading up to the bout, it has been Van Zant who received the lion’s share of media attention, but that doesn’t bother Curran.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” said Curran. “It’s great that (Van Zant) gets what she gets. I think she gets more attention because she couldn’t do the TUF show because she was too young, but it doesn’t bother me.

“I’ve gotten a little bit of attention, just enough for me to be happy with.”

When it comes to facing Van Zant, Curran feels her stand-up will be the key to winning the bout.

“I just have to go in and do what I do best,” said Curran. “I want to stand with (Van Zant). I feel like she’s going to want to clinch a lot, so I’ve got to stay away from her doing that to me. I’m just going to have to do my thing.”

As the 115-pound weight class continues to develop in the UFC, Curran feels a win on Saturday will go a long way towards establishing her as one of the division’s top fighters.

“I’m just going to take whatever comes my way,” she said. “When I get this win, it will be great to get my first win in the UFC and make a statement that I belong here and that I can progress in the weight class.”

(Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Curran)

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