In late 2015, Maximum Fighting Championship veteran Kurt “The Hurt” Southern returned to fighting after more than a year off with a first-round submission of Daniel Swain at the inaugural Prestige FC event in Canada.
While the fight didn’t quite go as he envisioned it would, Southern was happy to get back on the winning track following two straight losses in his previous bouts.
“Daniel is a tough opponent,” Southern told MMAWeekly.com. “He had over 20 fights and was coming in on a winning streak. He was tough, but I performed well.
“He was actually able to take me down three times in the first round, and that doesn’t happen to me very often. I ended up catching with a guillotine midway through the first. It’s not how I planned it, but goes to show in this sport you really can’t plan anything because anything can happen.”
Changes made following Southern’s back-to-back losses to Tom Gallicchio in 2014 are what he credits for putting him back in the win column.
“After the losses to Tom, I decided to switch some things up, and moving down in weight class (to 145 pound) was one of those things,” said Southern. “I also hooked up with Duane Ludwig and started running the Bang Muay Thai system as well.
“I’ve done a lot differently to improve my game, and it felt good to get that win and get that weight off my shoulders (following the losses).”
Southern (14-6) makes his return to Prestige on Saturday in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, to take on Nick Rhoads (8-3) for the promotion’s 145-pound title in the evening’s main event.
“Nick’s tough, he’s a gamer, and he’s going to come and put it on me,” said Southern. “He’s aggressive, he’s dangerous, and comes from a good background, but I think at the end of the day I’m going to be too experienced for him.
“He hasn’t fought anybody like me, I don’t think. I think I’ve fought a lot tougher opponents than him. I think my experience and skillset is just a little bit better than him.”
Having returned successfully after time off, Southern is more focused on enjoying the run he’s on now rather than putting his thoughts too far ahead of where he is.
“I don’t want to look too far into the future,” said Southern. “I want to take each fight as it comes and go from there.
“At times, I’ve looked past a fight thinking that if I won, I’d get picked up by the UFC or something like that, but it doesn’t really go that way. You never know what’s going to happen. Right now, I’m taking it fight by fight and enjoying the moment.”