Pat Curran will attempt to earn his second win over Daniel Straus at Bellator 106. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Pat Curran may have knocked out Daniel Straus more than four years ago, but that matters little to Bellator’s featherweight champion as he now stands mere hours away from their rematch.
“We’ve both been growing as fighters, and we’re totally different now,” said Curran. “If anything, he’s using it as motivation to train hard and get that loss off his record and redeem himself. I’m expecting him to bring his A-game and to be better than last time. I can’t compare my first fight with him [to this fight]. I don’t see how you could.”
Curran and Straus will lock horns tonight at Bellator 106 from the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. Much has occurred for both men since their 2009 lightweight encounter under the Xtreme Fighting Organization banner. Curran made the cut to 145 pounds in 2011 and has yet to taste defeat, capturing the Bellator featherweight title last year and defending it twice successfully in 2013.
Straus, meanwhile, stumbled in the Season 4 featherweight draw before winning the Season 6 tournament in May 2012. The Ohioan was originally supposed to challenge Curran this past April, but a broken hand derailed those ambitions. Though Straus has not competed in a full year, Curran nevertheless expects his opponent to come ready to fight.
“Everyone has their issues and problems. I’ve gone through injuries, and I know what it is like to recover from them going back into a fight. I don’t see him having any ring rust,” said Curran. “He’s been waiting for this opportunity a long time, and I feel like he’ll be training that much harder. When you’re champion, everyone is gunning for you, and they’re motivated to take your belt. With Straus, I have one win over him, and he’s going to have a little bit more motivation in this camp compared to his past camps, I’m sure.”
Though Curran’s 2012 was also derailed by injuries, the champion bounced back this year by defending his belt against Patricio Freire and Shahbulat Shamhalaev. His win over Shamhalaev was particularly impressive, as Curran choked out the hard-hitting Dagestani in just 2:38. Though Curran has retained the core of his usual preparation ahead of tonight’s bout, he has also dedicated mental energy to readying himself for a grinding competitor like Straus.
“My training doesn’t change too much. A lot of my focus is on no-gi grappling, wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and strength and conditioning. That’s pretty much every camp. The only thing different is that I like to review my opponents and look at their strengths and weaknesses to prepare myself mentally,” said Curran. “Straus is a totally different fighter [than Shamhalaev]. He’s definitely more well-rounded. I’m definitely taking that into consideration. We know what we’re getting into, and we’re very confident we’re going to come out with a win.”