Curtis Millender hopes he’ll be back in the PFL this year to take another crack at a $1 million payday.
But until then, he’s going to hop on the boxing trend with a regional fight he hopes will get him back in fight shape while waiting for the PFL to call.
Millender, who went 3-2 as a UFC welterweight before moving on to Bellator in 2020 and then the PFL in 2021, said he’s got a boxing match coming up against John Mercurio under the Fight Club OC banner. Millender beat Mercurio in an MMA bout for Fight Club OC early in his career.
“I’ve always wanted to box, and what better place to do it than at home?” Millender told MMA Junkie Radio. “It wasn’t too much of a sense of urgency, but I knew when the opportunity came about, I was like, ‘I might as well just take it. I might as well have some fun with it.’ I can use it to get in shape because I’m hoping to get back into the PFL this April. It’s easy to get in shape for this fight. I have my weight low – I (usually) get a little heavy in between (fights). I was going to do it regardless.”
Millender hasn’t had an easy run of things the pst three years. He ran his winning streak to nine fights with wins in his first three UFC bouts. But then he was submitted by Elizeiu Zaleski dos Santos in 2019 and dropped a decision to Belal Muhammad later that year.
The Southern California native signed with Bellator, where he fought a one-off three years prior, and beat Moses Murietta. After a loss to Sabah Homasi in August 2020, he made his way to the PFL for the 2021 season.
But in the welterweight season, he was submitted by former Bellator champion Rory MacDonald in his first fight in April 2021. Then he was tapped by Magomed Magomedkerimov two months later.
Despite losses in five of his past six MMA fights, Millender said that sport is still where he wants to be – even if he’s boxing in the interim.
“(I want to) get a couple (boxing matches) in, but my heart, my love, everything is still with MMA,” he said. “I still plan to be the best MMA fighter at welterweight on the planet, and whatever I have to do to do that, I’m going to do it.”
But Millender also left it open that if he catches the boxing bug, and that’s where the biggest paydays are – who knows.
“My favorite athlete, my favorite fighter, period, is Floyd Mayweather,” Millender said. “So I can go in there, get some knockouts and be hooked. The opportunity is open. Whatever’s going to help me put the food on the table and get the dope Christmas gifts and get the big house for my kids, I’m going to do it.”
Check out the full interview with Millender below.
Curtis Millender def. Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC 232: Best photos
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