Jeff Curran has been there, man. From WEC, to the UFC, Strikeforce, IFL, Bellator…Dude even fought Hioki to a decision back in Pride. Jeff Curran has been there and he wants to go back, but tonight he has business to take care of. Big Frog’s promotion, the XFO, will be headed back to the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois (of Fedor/Rogers fame) and according to the longtime MMA vet, a strong win will put him firmly back into the Zuffa crosshairs. Good Zuffa crosshairs that is. The fighter/teacher/promoter took a few minutes out of his busy day of training his successful stable of fighters such as cousin and Bellator tournament winner Pat Curran, MMA Supremacy’s Felice Herrig and some random dude named Damarques that we don’t know to answer a couple of questions we threw his way.
Jeff, what’s going on man, how’s life? Life is great, I feel good, my body is good, nothing feels wrong right now, the energy in my gym is through the roof so everything is great.
Speaking of your gym, you have MiddleEasy’s own Damarques Johnson over there right now, not to mention Jens Pulver, Felice Herrig, Palaszewski…what is driving that energy at your gym? Well we have always had a good team bond. At the gym, all the fighters are striving towards the same thing which can sometimes make people testy, but for the most part man, there are always classes going down, fighters are working hard and everyone is doing really well. We have those vets like Damarques and Hornbuckle and Felice and Jens bringing a lot of positivity you know? There is excitement because there are such great partners to work with.
How are you able to juggle all of your responsibilities between XFO, your career, the school and all of your fighters? My staff, all the regular classes are covered. Every once in a while I will cover a class or some training but there is only a couple times a year where I have to hunker down and be selfish and this is one of em. I feel good teaching classes and sparring and trying to push everyone but when I feel sluggish I got people that can help me. I have a good staff and good partners and a great group of supporters overall.
Why do you think team Curran is blowing up right now? I just stuck to my gameplan, for the most part this is the first time i have opened my doors and talked to guys outside my network. I have people that are training under me or others. I mean I have fighters that started under me and are now pro’s and we also have these guys coming in. I couldn’t rush, I had to take time, and with a fight career to I had to do it in a slow way.
How has Jens improved his game at your gym? Jens has improved immensely, he has improved just overall in general. With his teammates here and the gym and the positive energy he and I in the same boat and we don’t want to quit we want to show our abilities and I’m so thankful that Jens is there because he is going to continue to grow and I think he is going to do some good things in the sport for years to come.
How is Pat doing after his loss to Eddie Alvarez. Oh he’s fine, he obviously wanted to fight to win but it didn’t go his way, Eddie adjusted to Pat’s style and Pat went out there to win rather than survive and I think that surprised a lot of people but now he’s debuting in the 145 pound tournament June 25th for Bellator so he’s just in the training camp now.
How is the weight cut going for him? Oh he’s good, Pat’s about as easy going and positive as they come and if he needs to make weight he will. He’ll diet and train real hard and won’t play head games with himself he just wants to go in there and he’s only been fighting three years total, so he just wants to make it happen.
What is next for you after XFO 39? I’m hoping the UFC. I’ve been told that if I’m patient enough to wait for an opening and if I come through with a solid win, a finish and an exciting fight and that I belong in the upper echelon of this sport, that when an opening comes available I’m gonna be in. So that’s the gameplan right, just to keep the eye on the prize.
It’s seems that after a few quiet years after Miletich kind of dissolved, you and Duke Roufus are now carrying the midwestern MMA torch, what is making the midwest such a hotbed for MMA right now? What would you attribute that to? I would attribute a lot of that to me honestly. My friend and partner Dan running the XFO, you know, Monte Cox years ago, we needed shows so those were going down. Years ago around here teams were popping up and they wanted to challenge us and we took on all comers. We have about an 80-90% win rate against local teams as amateurs going into the pros. We keep growing the students and the other camps need to keep up. Between my gym and the XFO we kind of have created this pattern. Everyone wants to compete with us and everyone and their mother thinks they can promote, so you have shows popping up all the time and they don’t last…It’s one of those things. We are still here.
Whats your secret? You promote, you have a school you’re a professional fighter, it’s pretty incredible. Well for one I’m passionate about it I’m not in it to make money. If anyone saw my bottom line they would see how broke I am. I’m not in it for making money. I’m in it for establishing myself and my team for the long term. I’m not trying to cash in quick, I really care about my fighters and the development of the sport in a professional manner. We are always ethical and treat everyone well, even the other teams and we just stay the course. When things are good, great. When things are bad, we work through it.
Follow Jeff at BigFrogBJJ