Chris Curtis targets ‘f***** unit’ Dricus du Plessis after unsatisfying UFC 282 win


Chris Curtis was a little disappointed at UFC 282.

This past Saturday, Curtis delivered another exceptional performance in the octagon, knocking out Joaquin Buckley in the second round, and earning a “Performance of the Night” bonus. Securing a big win and an extra $50,000 would normally constitute a good night at the office for anyone, but “Action Man” admits he hoped for more.

“It was good,” Curtis told The MMA Hour. “This is going to sound like the most weird thing to say. For me, it’s a happy outcome. I was happy with our performance. The fight went exactly as we expected. But going into it, Joaquin and I had talked about getting ‘Fight of the Year’ – I was excited, because in my head, I was thinking there’s going to be this knock-down, drag-out war of attrition, we’re going to leave bloody and beat up, and that wasn’t it. It was like I felt like I didn’t want more.

“I’ve been searching for that fight since I’ve started fighting, and I still haven’t gotten it. I’m just like, ‘Ugh, so close.’ And I thought that would be it, because he’s a warrior. He was willing to fight. This is just one thing. I wanted to fight in one of those situations where I felt truly in danger. I wanted it to be a fight where I was like, ‘Shoot, I think I’m in danger,’ and have to dig deep.

“I got into fighting because of f****** cartoons and video games, so I think I have a weird perception of what I’m f****** doing here anyway. That was what I really wanted. So I’m sad that didn’t come to pass, but I got out with my health and a nice paycheck, so I’ll take it.”

Curtis’s MMA career began with a rough start. But he has looked sensational since 2020, going 9-1 during that time and rising to the No. 14 spot in the UFC’s middleweight rankings. It’s a big turnaround for the man who dropped three in a row in the PFL, and one he attributes to finally getting with the right gym.

“I have a lot of good people behind me, and I happen to finally just fall into — I moved to Xtreme Couture and I found the coaches in the gym that made me better at fighting,” Curtis said. “They’ve made me a better fighter overall, and this is the first time I can say I’m truly in a world-class gym, with world-class coaches and world-class training partners. Even in my 30s, I grew fast. There was still much to learn, and I am still improving. Every day I improve and can fix things that I once thought were difficult. It’s just that I am in the right spot with the right people. I can do the things I love so I don’t mind.

“I love training, I love fighting, I’m serious. You won’t find too many people who love fighting way more than I do. I’m healthy, I’m still relatively young — 35 years, middle age there, so I’ve still got a few years in me. Why not enjoy it? Kick ass and keep moving, we’ll get there. Then I’ll be able to share cool stories when I grow up.

Officially, old.

At 35, “officially old” is coming quickly for Curtis, who hasn’t been wasting any time. Since joining the UFC in November of 2021, he has already fought five times inside the octagon, and he’s not looking to slow down. Next, he hopes to lock horns with fellow UFC 282 bonus winner.

“Just from even this weekend and everything going on at middleweight, I would be surprised if it wasn’t Dricus Du Plessis,” Curtis said. “We were supposed to fight once, before this weekend we were ranked one apart, I think, he should get a little bump, top-10 maybe, but I’ll be, maybe, 14, so I’m surprised if that doesn’t happen. It’s still a great fight. Although it was a bummer that the fight had to be cancelled due to my injuries, I still think it is a great fight. Dricus is a f***** unit. This is a South African athlete. It would be a surprise if it wasn’t. And if it is it, I’d love to get a main event on a Fight Night card. He should have a fight for five rounds. That would be crazy.”