To face Scott Jorgensen on the main card of UFC 137, the UFC has decided to bring back Jeff “The Big Frog” Curran, a veteran of 47 fights and a pioneer of the lighter weight classes in MMA. With the UFC bringing in relatively mediocre bantamweights in order to give the division some depth, it’s nice to see them bringing back a fighter like Curran, a fighter who has enjoyed considerable success in the past. Unlike some of the recent additions to the bantamweight division, Curran has shown the capability of beating quality competition.
The problem is that it may be too late. As a fighter who made his professional debut on January 16th, 1998, Curran has been fighting for almost 14 years now. Curran went on a four-fight losing streak in the WEC shortly after reaching the dreaded 9-year mark, but it can be countered that those fights were against the best opponents the sport had to offer: Urijah Faber, Mike Brown, Joseph Benavidez, and Takeya Mizugaki. However, Curran has not managed to beat any really good opponents since the 9-year mark, with his best win being against maybe Stephen Ledbetter. Meanwhile, a recent Bellator loss to Bryan Goldsby is particularly problematic: Goldsby was just 11-11 when he beat Curran.
And I hate to unravel things further, but Curran’s best wins appear to be fights that he just skated by. According to Victory Score, Curran’s three best wins took place in a span of five fights, against Antonio Carvalho, Raphael Assuncao, and Wagnney Fabiano (with a loss to Hatsu Hioki thrown in the mix: no shame there). The win over Carvalho was by majority decision, the win over Assuncao was also by majority decision, and the win over Fabiano was by split decision. Don’t get me wrong, those are still wins against quality opponents, but the fact that there was one dissenting judge in all three of those fights takes some of the shine off of Curran’s career.
So is Curran a threat to beat Scott Jorgensen? Well, I’ve identified Jorgensen as one the more vulnerable “top ten” bantamweights out there. Not as vulnerable as Takeya Mizugaki (in my opinion), but Jorgensen lacks the real high-level win needed to be legitimized as one of the world’s best bantamweight fighters.
But there’s a difference between being vulnerable and being mediocre. Jorgensen is a quality fighter whose recent losses were to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and a split decision to Antonio Banuelos that he would later avenge. Meanwhile, Jorgensen has beaten Mizugaki, and he does have a win over Brad Pickett. He’s shown in recent years that he belongs in the UFC, and that he’s capable of hanging with some of the best. Unfortunately, that’s more than can be said of Curran right now.
SILVA PREDICTION: SCOTT JORGENSEN (29.99) OVER JEFF CURRAN (21.51)
As somebody with only one KO/TKO win on his record, it’s likely that Curran would want to take this fight to the ground, and work the submission game against Jorgensen. That’s unlikely to happen: Jorgensen is a strong wrestler, and Curran doesn’t have much of a history of success with takedowns. But, more to the point, Curran’s time seems to have passed him by, and even then, he never had the greatest success against quality competition in the first place. It’s nice to see the UFC bring him back and give him one last chance to make some sort of run, but Scott Jorgensen is exactly the kind of fighter he’s been falling short against in recent years.