BOSTON -- Only two fights into what looked to be a signature run in Bellator Fighting Championships for Roger Huerta, the former Sports Illustrated cover boy is back to the drawing board, pondering adjustments to his style, a K-1 kickboxing fight and rebuilding his stature.
Following a unanimous decision loss in Boston Thursday to game underdog Pat Curran, Huerta looked forlorn and struggled with how to express himself during a post-fight press conference. He looked down the table at Bellator’s lightweight titleholder, Eddie Alvarez, to tacitly acknowledge their potential superfight was off the table for now, jokingly asking Alvarez if they could “still” find a way to meet.
“It’s going to take a while (to get over the loss),” Huerta, 26, whose jumping ship from the UFC to Bellator grabbed headlines in March, told Sherdog.com. “But it’s my job to not go crazy and to get back into the gym and start training, start looking at what I did wrong and not make those same mistakes again.”
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said Huerta would probably not be back in the Bellator cage this season, which ends in June, and is more likely to return in season three, which begins in the fall. There will not be a lightweight tournament that season.
Despite the marquee potential of an Alvarez-Huerta bout, Rebney said Curran’s advancement demonstrated a main tenet of Bellator’s tournament philosophy.
“I’m thrilled that a fighter not a lot of us might have known about was able to use this moment on a national stage and establish himself as a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “It’s proof of concept. This is what I had hoped we would have in place. It will continue that way until they drag me out of my office kicking and screaming.”
Huerta, whose Bellator contract gives him leeway to fight for other organizations with Rebney’s approval, said he’s interested in fighting in Japan, particularly in K-1. While training last year in Thailand, Huerta caught glimpses of K-1 Max stalwarts Buakaw Por Pramuk and Masato and got the itch to try his hand at the high-output striking sport.
“I would love to just go out there and do a K-1 fight and just stand and bang with somebody and all you would worry about is punches and knees and clinch and kicks,” he said. “It would be exciting, and I think that my fighting style would really match up well in a K-1 fight.”
Huerta also mentioned an interest in possibly fighting MMA for the Dream promotion in Japan.