It was recently announced that Curtis Millender was released from the UFC after going 3-2 in the promotion. He was coming off back-to-back losses, yet those losses were to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Belal Muhammad, who are borderline top-15 fighters.
Millender isn’t upset about getting cut but does have a chip on his shoulder now.
“I think that was the biggest shock for me. Just the body of work that I had in the UFC and when they cut me,” Millender said to BJPENN.com in his first interview since being released. “Even the guys I fought with the exception of dos Santos, they all had lost two in a row before, somewhere in their UFC tenure. It was just very confusing for me. I’m not upset, I’m not bitter, but I would be lying if I didn’t have a chip on his shoulder.”
Although he isn’t upset about getting cut, he is confused. He knows he is UFC-calibre and still should be fighting inside the Octagon. Yet he was told the promotion has too many fighters so given he was on a losing streak his services were no longer needed.
“I got a couple of different reasons. They said losing two at welterweight because the division is so stacked. I was told that in July, then they said there were too many guys on the roster,” he explained. “Look, I understand I lost two in a row, but what baffles me is we just saw James Vick basically get murdered four fights in a row. It is crazy, I just don’t understand. Even those two fights I lost, I took both of them on short notice. Three of the five fights in the UFC I took on short notice. I only fought tough guys, didn’t take any easy fights. As soon as I came in I was thrown to the fire.”
Even though Curtis Millender was released, he says he and the promotion are on good terms and there is a chance he fights in the UFC again.
“They told me to win a couple and come back. That is why I only want to fight quality guys and show them the UFC is where I am supposed to be,” he said. “I have never taken an easy fight, my body of work speaks for itself. I just want to keep fighting and get my job back.”
After this twist of fate, Millender had to do what is best for him and he has already signed with Bellator and has a fight booked. He only signed a one-fight deal as he wants to keep his options open but is open to a long-term deal with Bellator if the money is right.
“I will be fighting for Bellator, on Jan. 23. We are working on the opponent as I had some people pull out already. I was supposed to fight Joe Schilling but he pulled out,” Millender revealed. “I’m working on some things and they are finding me an opponent. I have been asking for a fight every week for three or four months before I got released. So, I’ve been ready to fight for a while now.”
This will be Millender’s third stint in Bellator and fifth fight overall, as he is currently 2-2 in the promotion. He is looking at this next Bellator fight as a chance to show Bellator, the UFC, and ONE Championship that he is worthy of a long-term deal, as he is just looking to get paid regardless of the promotion.
“Wherever the best money is. Of course, I want to be in the UFC and be the best in the world and win the belt. But, I have a family to take care of,” he concluded.
What do you make of Curtis Millender being released from the UFC and signing with Bellator?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/7/2019.