Pat Curran taught Joe Warren he wasn't a featherweight.
Following a brutal knockout loss to Curran that stripped him of his belt, Warren (7-3 MMA, 5-2 BFC), who fights Owen Evinger (7-3 MMA, 0-2 BFC) on Friday at Bellator 80, said his priority is fighting as a bantamweight.
Retirement, though, is not an option.
"I know there are a lot of people out there that are saying I'm done, and hey, everyone's entitled to their opinion," Warren told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
). "If anyone doesn't believe in me, I invite them to sit in front of their TV on Friday night and watch me pummel the s--- out of this guy. I'll change their perspective real fast."
Bellator 80 takes place at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Warren vs. Evinger headlines the MTV2-televised main card, which follows Spike.com prelims.
Warren's brash confidence is one of his defining features. He isn't one to shy away from big challenges – or big proclamations. He entered the sport of MMA in 2009 with no amateur experience and immediately fought top-tier competition overseas. He went 2-1 before signing with Bellator, where he won the promotion's Season 2 featherweight tournament and then the title.
But the fighter acknowledges he's in new territory.
"I've never been in a situation where I've lost twice in a row," he said. "It's not something that's normal for me. Nothing has happened to me from my last two losses other than me just getting better from them. Those defeats were very upsetting for me, and they bruised my ego, but bruises heal, and they're all healed up now."