After eighteen months out of action, Ryan ‘Chaos’ Curtis is gearing up to make his return to the cage at Bellator Dublin this weekend.
Bellator Dublin is now just a matter of hours away and with that in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to everything you’ll need to know ahead of what should be an incredible night for Irish mixed martial arts.
Four straight wins kicked off the pro-career of the highly-touted Ryan ‘Chaos’ Curtis as he followed up his unbeaten run on the amateur circuit with a streak that saw many cite him as one of Ireland’s top rising talents.
And it’s a title he well and truly deserves – something that was evidenced by his fifth outing, a thrilling BAMMA flyweight world title-shot matchup against Daniel Barez – a man who is still riding a four-fight win-streak.
Speaking to us here at Pundit Arena, Curtis explained how an early shot he absorbed changed the complexion of the fight, despite the fact that he was more-than-capable of hanging in there and causing problems for the more experienced man from then on.
“I felt that it was just good to be in there with a seasoned veteran with a lot more fights than me, a tough competitor. I think skills-wise I was up there with him, I just got caught early and to be honest, the bells were still ringing until the end.
That fight took place in July of 2017, about 18 months ago and he has not competed in the time since.
Thankfully, Curtis received the call to feature and make his promotional debut on this weekend’s Bellator Dublin – an opportunity he plans to use as a showcase for the skills he has been working on behind closed doors.
“It wasn’t for a lack of trying to get fights, we were trying and it just wasn’t coming together. I was even willing to fight on smaller shows – usually I wouldn’t, I’d hold out for the big shows but there was a bit of a drought going on across Europe it seems. I was speaking to other fighters and they couldn’t get anything going either.
“Since then [the Barez fight], I’ve been in camp the whole time, I’ve been clean-eating, training three times a day so if anything, it has only benefitted me. Ring-rust? It’s a load of sh*te to me.”
Going from world-title matchup to landmark event in the sport’s history on a national level will see Ryan Curtis engage in two highly-significant matchups back-to-back but according to him, the pressure isn’t something he feels, especially with the support he brings to the table.
“I feel like it does boost you. People talk about pressure but I don’t really think about it like that you know. I know what I’m bringing. Everybody I know is going to be there for me, the Chaos Cartel they make the noise!
“I don’t feel it like pressure, I just feel like everyone’s there for me and when the door locks, it’s just me and him so it doesn’t really matter.
“It doesn’t feel like there’s that much of a difference because I should be fighting for world-titles and I feel like I should be on these type of shows anyway because I feel like that’s the level I’m at. I’m that kind of calibre.”
Watch Bellator 217: Gallagher vs. Graham live on Sky Sports Main Event and Action on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9pm. Preliminary bouts will stream globally on the Bellator Mobile App.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena