This past January, Curran successfully defended his title against Patricio Freire in a fight that pushed him to his limit.
“He was an extremely tough opponent with a tough jaw and hard to finish,” said Curran of Freire. “It was a little closer than I’d like, but I’m happy to come away with a win and defend my title for the first time.
“Once I started getting my rhythm and timing down, I started finding openings more and finding a home for my jab. I was landing the cleaner shots on him and by the end of the fight his face was more swollen than mine.”
It was perhaps Freire looking the worse for wear that earned Curran a split-decision victory. Although it was a much more difficult fight than he anticipated, Curran is happy that it gave him a good sense of who he is coming into this year.
“I definitely wanted to make a statement and prove to myself that my boxing is definitely on par with an elite level. I definitely wanted to prove that and I think I did,” Curran told MMAWeekly.com.
“It felt great to get five rounds and find out where my cardio and endurance is and push myself to see where I can improve and better myself after that.”
Originally Curran was set to make his second title defense against Daniel Straus at Bellator 95 on April 4 in Atlantic City, NJ, live on Spike TV. Straus, however, suffered an injury, so Curran will face Shahbulat Shamhalaev instead.