Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearBefore there was Brendan Loughnane, there was Chris Curtis.Much like the 29-year-old featherweight from Manchester, England, Curtis appeared on the first episode of a new season, carrying an impressive record and a wealth of regional experience into a tough matchup to kick off Season 2 of the UFC’s latest talent search series. He dominated the action and finished the fight in the third round, landing a beautiful hook kick 90 seconds into the final stanza that ultimately led to the bout being halted.But when White convened with Laura Sanko to announce which fighters had earned contracts, Curtis’ name wasn’t mentioned. Alonzo Menifield and Greg Hardy, both of whom scored hellacious first-round knockout wins, were tabbed to join the UFC ranks.Three days after his appearance in Las Vegas, “The Action Man” announced his retirement from the sport.“At that point, it’s a 12-year journey,” said Curtis, reflecting on the events of last summer. “I get there, I’m like, ‘Here’s my contract, finally.’ I do everything and get passed up, it sucked, and on top of that, I go home with a broken hand.“It was just interesting after the Contender Series because you put all that time and effort in. I was training across the country, away from my kids — it sucks for my family because of all the time and money that you spend. It just sucked.”And so he hung up his four-ounce gloves.After the hurt dissipated and his injuries healed, a conversation with one of his long-time training partners set Curtis on the path back to competing inside the cage.“Sam Alvey was one of the guys that made me realize that I don’t really have many options,” said Curtis, who ultimately sided with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) to compete in the company’s welterweight division. “What else am I going to do with my time? I’ve spent 12 years working on being the best fighter I could be, so I kind of have one path to follow.“I fought earlier this year to get back into it, test the waters and I felt good, and then this came up and I jumped at it,” he added. “I wanted to be in the UFC, I wanted my fight kit, but a million bucks buys a lot of personalized fight kits, so I’ll just do that instead.”Fighting on the first event of the 2019 season, Curtis scored a third-round stoppage win over Andre Fialho, pushing his winning streak to eight and earning him four points — good for fifth place in the division heading into his second and final regular season matchup later this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey.“More than the points, it was good to get out there,” he explained. “Everybody was telling me I had the best fight that night. I’m in a new gym — I moved to Vegas, so that’s different — and I have a new coach in John Wood. It’s just nice to go out there and perform, show that I made a good decision, the right changes.“To have the fans really love me and say I’m one of the best fights they’ve seen so far means a lot to me. It’s just validation that I’m at that level,” he added. “I’ve heard a lot of people say the UFC really screwed up not signing me and that means the world to me honestly.”Having already made an impact with the fans, Curtis has the opportunity to make an impact on the standings as he gears up for the playoffs and takes on 2018 welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov on Thurday evening in the main event of PFL 4 of the 2019 season at the Ocean Casino Resort.The 29-year-old Magomedkerimov was an unknown to most North American fight fans prior to last year’s PFL season, when he scored wins over Herman Terrado and Bojan Velickovic to advance to the playoffs and then beat Pavel Kusch and Velickovic again to advance to the finals, where he submitted heavy favorite Ray Cooper III to claim the welterweight title and $1 million.In his first appearance of this year, the returning champion was one of three fighters to collect six points, submitting UFC veteran John Howard in the opening round.“The only thing more dangerous than one Magomed is two Magomeds,” joked Curtis. “At the same time, he’s the champion from last year and I respect that — it’s cool, congrats to him — but I didn’t fight in this tournament last year, so him being the champion doesn’t mean a thing to me. It just doesn’t.“You beat people that weren’t me,” he continued. “You beat Ray Cooper III. I’m not really impressed by that.”In addition to not particularly caring about Magomedkerimov’s success last season, the soon-to-be 32-year-old isn’t overly worried about playoff seeding as he heads into his second regular season appearance of the year.His win over Fialho earned him four points, good for fifth place in the standings, one point ahead of Handersson Ferreira, one point behind Cooper III and two points back of Magomedkerimov, Glaico Franca and Sadibou Sy, all of whom scored first-round finishes and garnered six points.Because of how the welterweights have been paired off for their second event of the regular season, Curtis isn’t guaranteed a place in the playoffs just yet, but he’s confident that he’ll earn a victory on Thursday night and doesn’t care whether he heads into the playoffs as the first or eighth seed. “Before PFL, had you heard of Magomedkerimov?” asked Curtis. “You hadn’t and no one else had either. That was his coming out party and he’s not a guy that anyone really cares about. I’m going to beat him up and after this tournament, you’re never going to hear about Magomed Magomedkerimov ever again.“As far as seeding, I’m not concerned,” he added. “In my head, I’m going into this tournament thinking I’m the very best in the tournament, bar none, so at this point, I don’t care who I have to fight — I’m going to win. I can beat everyone in this tournament, so I don’t really care. I just want to move it along.“I can beat everyone here — I know that I can — so I don’t worry about the seeding too much.” A couple weeks back, MMA fans rallied to Brendan Loughnane’s side after the British standout didn’t receive a contract following his victory over Bill Algeo on the Contender Series.Loughnane, who won the fight handily and has built an excellent record fighting on the smaller stages, seemed like an obvious choice to get a contract, but instead, the UFC President went in a different direction, passing on Loughnane and criticizing his decision to shoot for a takedown in the final 10 seconds rather than “going for the finish,” as if he had Algeo teetering on the brink of collapse and gave him a reprieve.