(“Good job, good effort.” — James Irvin)
Jeff Curran is living proof that dropping a weight class in MMA often has a negligible effect on your level of success. After kicking off his career as a lightweight — and losing a decision to Matt Serra in his Octagon debut way back at UFC 46 in 2004 — the BJJ black belt eventually transitioned to featherweight to pursue a championship belt in the WEC. Unfortunately, Curran took back-to-back losses against Urijah Faber and Mike Brown, which inspired him to drop another ten pounds. He didn’t fare any better at 135 either, losing decisions to Joseph Benavidez and Takeya Mizugaki in 2009 before exiting the promotion.
After two years of purgatory — in which he went 4-1 competing for the XFO and on Strikeforce and Bellator preliminary cards — the UFC brought Curran back for another run at bantamweight. And after two more losses to Scott Jorgensen and Johnny Eduardo, Big Frog was back at square one. And now there’s this:
Veteran fighter Jeff Curran (33-15-1 MMA, 0-3 UFC), whom the UFC released following back-to-back losses to bantamweights Johnny Eduardo and Scott Jorgensen, is headed to the flyweight division. That’s according to his cousin and training partner, Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran.
“I don’t know how he’s going to make it, but he’s going to find a way,” Pat recently told MMAjunkie.com…Pat, who defeated Joe Warren for the Bellator belt earlier this year, took up the sport at his cousin’s urging. He said his mentor figure now is planning to regroup on the regional scene in the new weight class.
“I think he’s going to have a couple of fights outside the UFC and then (UFC officials will) possibly bring him back in,” Pat said. “I don’t know the whole details, but I think he’s going to fight at…the end of August in the XFO, possibly fight at another show, and try to get an offer in the UFC.”
The UFC launched its flyweight division earlier this year. Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson’s rematch headlines Friday’s UFC on FX 3 event, and the winner fights Joseph Benavidez later this year to determine the UFC’s inaugural flyweight champion. The new 125-pound weight class has provided new life for former bantamweight-title challengers such as Benavidez and Johnson, as well as vets such John Dodson, Louis Gaudinot and Darren Uyenoyama. Jeff Curran now looks to join that group.
Looking at the above photo of Curran’s last bantamweight weigh-in, you have to wonder where that next ten pounds is going to come from. If you compare it to this earlier photo of Curran at 145, you’ll see that he had to shed his hair and a noticeable amount of muscle to make 135 in the first place. Is competing in the UFC really worth jeopardizing your kidneys and turning yourself into a living skeleton, just so you can get out-wrestled by Demetrious Johnson and fired again? It seems like a decision born more out of desperation than logic.
Far be it from me to tell a fighter how to run his career, but…damn, Jeff Curran is going to look rough at 125.