After many ups and downs, the main event for Fight Night 9 is set.
Cincinnati’s Chris Curtis (19-5) will look to take home the Fight Night middleweight title, to go along with his welterweight title, when he faces Kelowna’s Matt Dwyer (11-4) at Fight Night 9 Friday night in Lethbridge, Alta.
Curtis, 31, was originally supposed to defend his welterweight against Mike Graves, who was forced to pull out. Michael Hill then stepped to the plate, but was also forced to withdraw due to a staph infection. But despite multiple opponent changes and a weight class change, Curtis said nothing changes for him once he steps in the cage.
“I know what I have to do. Nothing changes. There’s a little bit of a different style to deal with, but I’ll adjust to that as the fight starts,” said Curtis in an interview.
“He may have UFC credentials, but I’m better than him and I’m going to go prove it. He got there before I did, but he’s not there anymore, and I’m going to show I should be there.”
Curtis’ most recent bout was a third-round knockout of Sean Lally on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, a performance he believed was deserving of a UFC contract.
When all was said and done, Curtis didn’t end up receiving a contract, and announced his retirement from the sport a short time later.
But after much time and deliberation, Curtis said regardless of where he’s fighting, this is what he was meant to do and is back at it again.
“This is what I’ve done for the last 12 years, every day, full-time,” said Curtis.
“All my family and friends kept saying we can’t see you doing anything else. This is what I do. Some people are great at dancing, some can sing, and some do poetry. I fight. This is what I do and this is what I am.”
Curtis has won six-straight fights and nine of his last ten, which includes fives finishes and three titles.
Although his resume is worthy of a UFC call-up, Curtis said he’s not focusing on where he should be or where he could be after this fight.
“It’s just a fight for me and I’m just focusing on this one. I’m not really thinking about what comes after this,” said Curtis.
“I’ve done everything I can possibly do under the sun, short of killing a guy in the ring, and it hasn’t been enough, so I’m just focusing on this fight.”
Dwyer Has His Fight
Dwyer, 29, was originally supposed to challenge Joe Riggs for the middleweight title, but Riggs was forced to pull out due to an ankle injury.
After a lengthy training camp, Dwyer said while he’s thankful for Curtis moving up in weight to take the fight, he views Riggs’ move as unprofessional.
“I have nothing but respect for Curtis for taking the fight,” said Dwyer in an interview.
“Riggs backed out due to a sore ankle, which is just pathetic and very unprofessional. The disregard and the disrespect from that man is just unbelievable.”
Since being cut from the UFC in early 2016, Dwyer has been on a tear in the regional scene, defeating the likes of Jesse Ronson, Chris Anderson, and Dominique Steele, becoming the BFL middleweight champion and the XFFC middleweight champion in the process.
Dwyer will now go for his third-straight middleweight title in a third organization and, more importantly, another strong victory in his push back to the UFC.
“When I got to the UFC, I only had one championship belt and I always thought it would be cool if I won a few regional titles and had a few more stories to tell,” said Dwyer.
“Every fight from here on in is the biggest fight of my career because this is a very crucial time for me to gather the wins and prove I’m worthy to get back there.”
In addition to racking up wins, Dwyer said he needs to be doing so against tough opponents if he hopes to receive the UFC call for the second time.
He said although Riggs may have been a bigger name, he believes a victory over Curtis will look better to the UFC brass.
“He’s got a lot of eyes on him. His Contender Series performance is still pretty fresh in Dana White’s mind,” said Dwyer.
“To put him away and for the UFC to find out about it, it could definitely rise the tide a bit for me.”
“I’d like to thank Sam Alvey, Dan Henderson and everyone else at Team Quest. I’d also like to shoutout a few fighters from Team Quest who won their fights this weekend: Rickey Furar, Trevor Wells, and two of our amateurs Aryion Young and Daniel Durald. Good job Team Quest and keep kicking ass.”
“I’d like to thank my coach David Lea, my teammates Steve Mac Donald, Justin Doege and Tyler VanKill, my strength and conditioning coaches Sean Hawthorne and Rico, the guys at Aligned Chiropractic, Joel Kryczka at Prime Physiotherapy, and everyone else for all the help and support.”