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Bellator 133: 'Determined' Pat Curran to use 'stepping stone' Daniel Weichel to earn Pitbull Freire rubber match

Pat Curran's last six bouts have involved the Bellator featherweight title. However, his fight next weekend will be the first since 2011 that wasn't for gold.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Six is a familiar number for Pat Curran.

He's the No. 6-ranked featherweight in the world. He's had six title fights in Bellator MMA since 2011. And he's only lost six fights in his entire professional career.

The only number that really matters for Curran right now, though, is two. He's the two-time former Bellator MMA featherweight champion, having successfully defended the title twice, but also having lost that title to Daniel Straus and most recently to Patricio "Pitbull" Freire in Sept. 2014.

On Feb. 13, 2015, Curran will compete for the first time in a long time without a world title on the line when he collides with Daniel Weichel at Bellator 133. However, having lost two out of his last four matches, it may take two wins or more for Curran to earn his way back to a title shot.

The road back to a 145-pound title shot runs directly through Weichel, a man with only one loss in his last 12 fights. recently spoke with Curran about starting his quest back to the belt at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., on Feb. 13, 2015, as well as his thoughts on Weichel as an opponent for the Spike TV-televised main card.

"I'm not looking past Daniel at all. I don't like to look past my opponent that's ahead of me, so I'll just take it one fight at a time. But, Daniel's just the one step -- that stepping stone to getting me one step closer to Pitbull -- or the champ."

Weichel is not a fighter anybody can look past -- all three of his Bellator opponents so far have learned. And he's finished 21 of 34 wins via submission. Curran rates his opponent as well-rounded, but with highly dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

"He's a very durable fighter ... and he has a lot of experience. I know I have a lot of experience as a fighter, but he actually has a lot more fights than me. When he goes for these submissions he goes 100 percent and he will try to finish you. He can go 100 percent and not worry about gassing out in a fight."

Curran's stated strategy is to treat every fight like it's for the title now and to use that as motivation to not let Weichel get the better of him on Friday the 13th.

"I'm still looking at this fight as a championship fight. Every fight from this point on in my career, I have to have that mindset going into. It (does) take a little bit of pressure off knowing it's not for a title and it's not a five round fight so training can be switched up just a little bit. I'm not worried about injuring myself leading into a championship fight."

Curran wants to fight for the belt no matter who ends up with it this year, but he'd clearly relish a rubber match with "Pitbull," having won the first before losing the second in Sept. 2014.

"I will for a fact get my rematch with Pitbull. I'm very motivated and determined that that happens. It's only a matter of time. If I go in there and say I knockout Daniel right way, if Bellator is ready, I'm ready to do the rematch, but it's really their call and we'll just go from there."

Be sure to watch the "motivated and determined" Pat Curran face off with Weichel at Bellator 133 next Friday night from Save Mart Center in Fresno. In the meantime, check out complete audio from our interview with Curran below. And be sure to tune into our coverage of Bellator 133 on fight night, which will include live updates from the "Prelims" under card through the Spike TV matches.

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