Los Angeles, CA — The UFC’s decision to release Curtis Millender after the welterweight went 3-2 in the promotion was just a little curious. But that promotion’s loss is Bellator’s gain. Millender returns to action this weekend at Bellator 238, in what will be a second stint for him in the company.
Millender (17-5) earned wins over Thiago Alves, Max Griffin, and Siyar Bahadurzada before running into trouble against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Belal Muhammad. He faces the 8-3 Moses Murrietta this Saturday, a veteran of promotions like M-1 and LFA.
Coming back to Bellator, he told Cageside Press at the event’s media day on Wednesday, “It’s great. Anybody that’s going to give me an opportunity to fight, do what I love, take care of my family, I’m for them. I’m thankful to Bellator for letting me get this opportunity so quick.”
When it comes to fighting early in the year, a lot of athletes enter the cage with resolutions fresh in their mind. Millender enjoys fighting early in the year for another reason, however. “I just want to set the tone. I like fighting at the beginning of the year. I go out there and get a dope finish, then we already got a candidate for knockout of the year,” he explained. “Now everybody got to try to beat me. Now the race is on. So I like this kind of thing.”
Bellator 238 is a big card, but Millender is no stranger to those. And he feels they help him. “I’m a fight fan first. I think that’s why my game is so good, just because I’m such a fan. The last time I fought in Bellator, I think it was Tito [Ortiz] and Chael [Sonnen]. So it was a pretty big card too.”
When it comes to some of the big names this Saturday at The Forum, Millender said that he’s a fan of Julia Budd, for one. “I feel like this is a great opportunity for her. I can’t wait to see it. And then, being on the card with [Darrion Caldwell] is really dope too, because we train together. I’ve watched him for years, so it’s awesome.”
Millender’s main event pick? Budd. “Yeah my money’s there. She’s big too. I’m excited.”
“I don’t think that goes the distance,” he added. “They both have pop, they both have power, they’re really well rounded and very good, high [Fight] IQ’s. They can see where things are going. I don’t think it will be a decision.”
Watch our full interview with Curtis Millender ahead of Bellator 238 above! The event goes down this Saturday, January 25 at The Forum in Inglewood (Los Angeles), California.