Jeff “The Big Frog” Curran: “I Know I Belong” in the UFC, “Going for Broke” Vs. Scott Jorgensen
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following his unanimous decision win over Billy Vaughan at an Xtreme Fighting Organization card this past May, Jeff “The Big Frog” Curran announced that if the Ultimate Fighting Championship wouldn’t have him back, the 34 year-old-veteran was going to close the book on his accomplished, decade plus career. Having gone 4-1 since he exited from World Extreme Cagefighting in 2009, Curran stated that he was leaving the fate of his career in the hands of UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby. Curran’s request did not go unheard.
“Sean Shelby actually gave me and Monte (Cox- Curran’s manager) a choice,” Curran told FCF, while recalling the events that surrounded his return to the promotion. “He said I could either fight in early October against Mike Easton, or fight Scott Jorgensen on this card (UFC 137)…I told Monte that I thought both guys were dangerous, but Scotty has the world ranking, four or five in the world, a contender, so I thought if they’re both dangerous I might as well go for broke and fight the bigger name guy. He said he agreed.”
Taking on a “bigger name” fighter is nothing new for Curran. Although the BJJ black belt dropped four consecutive bouts during his last run with Zuffa, the defeats came against former featherweight champions Urijah Faber and Mike Brown, as well former bantamweight contenders Takeya Mizugaki and Joseph Benavidez.
“The pressure is off of me as far as if I belong there,” said Curran. “I know I belong there. I worked my way back; it was a couple long years working to get my job back with Zuffa…At the same time, I do well under pressure so I put a lot of expectations on me. I know where I stand now. If I can’t beat Scott, then I know I might be considered one of the better fighters in the world, but I might not be considered or have another chance to reach the number one spot.”
“I’m kind of putting pressure on myself because this is a chance for me to not just get back to the UFC,” Curran added. “ A lot of people come into the UFC last minute, or are brought in for certain reasons, and I think I was brought in for a chance to have a realistic shot at being a contender, or to maybe be a gate keeper in the division. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to not just beat Scott, but to be the first guy to finish him, and to put the ball in my court a little bit…to start reclaiming my status.”
Heading into the October 29th bout, Jorgensen is coming off a first round, knockout of Ken Stone at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale in June, after failing to defeat current UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz in December.
“I would imagine that it’s going to be typical of Scott Jorgensen; just come out for fireworks,” said Curran, while discussing what strategy he believes the 29 year-old might employ against him at UFC 137. “If he’s in trouble he might change it up. He probably feels that he’s going to have the wrestling advantage over me, which remains to be seen, whether he can get the takedown on me, but he’s a competitor across the board. I’ve always wanted to fight him because I love his style.”
“I’ve always wondered how I would do against a guy that would stand in front of me and trade,” Curran furthered, who also scored wins over David Love, Tomohiko Hori and Dustin Neace in his last five bouts. “Usually, if I trade punches with someone they usually try to pin me up against the cage, or try to take me down, or I try to set up a takedown, and it ends up being a ground fight. I’m really interested in keeping this fight standing. Hopefully he keeps his normal style and that’s the way the fight goes.”