When Pat Curran steps into the cage at Bellator 221, he won’t be making a comeback, he’ll simply be returning. Having not fought since 2017 and dealing with injuries as he attempted to make a return in 2018, former Bellator champion Pat Curran will be looking to extend his three-fight winning streak when he takes on the undefeated A.J. McKee at Bellator 221 in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Curran spoke to MyMMANews after the Bellator 221 press conference where he addressed his matchup with McKee, why he doesn’t consider this his return fight, and how fighting in his hometown brings a sense of comfort throughout camp. First things first for Curran, he wants to set the record straight, this is not a comeback. Becoming a father, dealing with injuries, and trying to live a regular working life were all what he prioritized while he was away from fighting.
“I don’t really consider it a comeback, I’ve always been involved with the sport, I just stepped away for a short period of time to just kind of reset. I wanted to do things that I’m not used to doing. You know instead of being a full-time athlete, I wanted to get a full-time job, work a normal 9-5, work 40 hours a week, obviously it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. It kind of re-motivated me in a sense. I was dealing with a couple of injuries as well but of course it all worked out.”
While time away from the sport helped light the fire of motivation under Curran again, becoming a father was just as instrumental as the time away. Going through a full training camp six days a week never stopped Curran for keeping his family first, and he knows that if he continues his winning ways, he’ll set up a great future for his son and family.
“I am doing a full training camp, six days a week, Monday through Saturday, all while being a full-time father. It’s just more motivation. I can focus on training all while keeping my son in the back of my mind as well, knowing that I can provide a better life for him if I continue to win. That’s all the motivation I need. I want him to be successful in life and I want him to have a better life than I had, so me winning this fight means everything in that sense.”
Facing a rising and undefeated contender like A.J. McKee definitely comes with a challenge, but after McKee called Curran the “toughest opponent he’s ever faced”, Curran understands that there’s a job to be done.
“That statement goes for him and myself. Anybody at this level when you get to a certain point in your career, your next opponent is the next big stud, the next big thing for your career. It’s well deserved for him, he’s 13-0, he’s been knocking everybody out, and I want to be that test for him.
I want to see how good he actually is. I don’t think he’s as good as everyone thinks he is, and I want to expose him on Saturday night. I believe I’m the better fighter in every area in the game and I’m very confident in my abilities.”
As he prepares to make his return to the cage, Curran says there’s a sense of comfort in getting ready for a fight in the comfort of his backyard, because he can do a lot of work in his comfort zone.
“It helps out a lot. I’m not traveling at all which has been great cause I have the convenience of training at home, focusing on my diet, and being around my son. This is my normal routine, I’m used to it and it helps especially when I’m doing all the media stuff as well. It just makes life a little bit easier and smoother.”
Looking to expose the undefeated McKee, take advantage of the luxury of being home in his backyard, Pat Curran plans to showcase what made him a champion earlier in his career.
“I’m looking to show the complete package. Every time I go in the cage I want to make sure I am a better version of myself than my last fight, and I truly believe that’s going to happen. I’m going to continue to improve my game in all areas and I believe that A.J. is the perfect example for me to go out there and showcase what I’m able to do in front of the crowd.”
That crowd will most certainly be loud and strong for Pat Curran as he steps in for another fight, not a comeback fight, as he also looks to halt the rising hype train of the undefeated A.J. McKee. For Pat Curran, being a better martial artist from his last fight to this fight is one thing, but to continue to provide a great life for his child and family is the main focus as he heads into this fight.