Chris Curtis has a little revenge in mind.
The affable veteran – now 2-0 in the UFC after a TKO victory over Brendan Allen last Saturday at UFC Vegas 44 – paid close attention to another middleweight fight on the same card with his friend and partner training Maki Pitolo and Dusko Todorovic. In the preliminary bout featured, Pitolo lost by TKO, a result that put Todorovic squarely on Curtis’ radar.
Curtis, a career welterweight, isn’t sure exactly what the next step is for him, but he likes the idea of facing Todorovic to potentially prove a point.
“I guess I’m an 85er now,” Curtis said on MMA time. “Like I said, it’s a weird joke that’s got out of hand, but I guess I’m an 85er now. The only thing is, I don’t really know who exists at 185. This is not a weight class I was aiming for. There is a ton of 70 that I wanted to fight, but at 85 I have no idea who is in that weight class.
“But if I had to pick someone, who’s the guy Maki fought with?” … Dusko. Maki is a really good friend of mine, I love him to death, and this fight killed me because you don’t understand how Maki is so much better – people pester him – he’s so much better than that. He had an error in judgment which cost him the fight. It’s killing me because I fought to the death with Maki and barely made the draws in the practice hall and he makes a mistake and loses this fight. So I just wanna beat Dusko to show like ‘Bro, I’m not watching this as much as you’ – [Pitolo] made a mistake. I just want to prove we’re better than that, I know Maki is better than that, Maki and I fight to the death. To my eyes, if I’m going to beat Dusko I can kind of avenge the loss of my friend, it just hurts. I would like to get this back.
Pitolo was 11-4 before landing a contract on Dana WhiteContender Series with a memorable first-round finish from Justin Sumter. However, he’s only gone 1 to 5 inside the Octagon since and has lost four consecutive fights. On the other side of that fight, Todorovic broke a two-fight slip.
It’s unclear when Todorovic will be ready to compete again and if he’s interested in a clash with Curtis, but Curtis is looking to keep busy now that he’s arrived in the UFC after competing professionally for 12 years. After his win over Allen, Curtis suggested the UFC find a way to get him on this weekend’s UFC 269 card in Las Vegas. So far, his two UFC fights have been booked for the short term.
“The thing is, I’m still in training camp,” Curtis said. “If I’m two weeks or eight weeks old, the only thing that really changes is a few little things here and there. Maybe if I’m eight weeks old, maybe I’ll try to do a little more, try to finally lift or something, but my everyday life for the past eight, nine, 10 years has been doing the same things over and over again. I’m someone who trains seven days a week, I train really hard every day. My camp as far as time goes, all I really need is eight weeks, six weeks, if you’re like, “Hey, I need you down to 170”, because that requires work on my part.
“But as far as preparation goes, I have agreed that I will not be training this week, but I will be in the gym on Monday. I’m going to be hitting sacks, doing a few classes and working out, I’m not taking time off, I’m not a getting fat guy, I’m not going on vacation, that’s exactly what I do.
Curtis has now won two UFC fights in less than a month, closing a 6-0 2021 campaign that began with four consecutive wins on the regional stage. He also collected two $ 50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses, which should help the fighter who said he was “hilariously broke” before making a successful Madison Square Garden debut at UFC 268.
Despite all of his recent successes, not much has changed for Curtis back in the gym.
“Honestly, it’s a great feeling just because when the world doesn’t give you a chance to do something and you’re going to do it,” Curtis said. “It’s just cool too because you go back to the gym and everyone I see on a daily basis, everyone I train with is like, ‘We’re not surprised. It was less ‘Congratulations’ and more ‘Good job, don’t be fooled.’