HENRY CEJUDO was in front of his TV on August 26, 2016, a Bellator MMA card featuring a fight between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson

It was four months after Cejudo’s first career loss that came in a UFC title bout against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo wanted to see Freire, who was about his size, and the same coach, Eric Albarracin, against the taller Henderson shared what Cejudo saw was an evolved pit bull working out of a karate stance. Freire lost the fight to a leg injury, but he was very effective against Henderson that night

Cejudo was sold He flew to Natal, Brazil with Albarracin and trained for a month with Freire and his karate trainer Mano Santana Cejudo took the fighting style with him to the UFC – and he produced runs for the UFC flyweight and flyweight titles Bantamweight

“I stole his stance,” Cejudo told ESPN. “I stole his distance, I owe a lot of my success to Patricio Pitbull”

Cejudo, now retired yet constantly teasing a return, is one of only four fighters in history to hold UFC titles in two weight classes at the same time.He has seen firsthand the best that the UFC has to offer has, and in his view Freire is perhaps the greatest in the world.Also, Freire is a two-division champion who currently rules in Bellator both featherweight and lightweight.He has a knockout first-round win over Michael Chandler, who on 15 May will fight for the UFC lightweight title

But in large part because he fights for Bellator rather than the UFC, Freire is not universally recognized among the best fighters in MMA. His name does not appear on ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings

On Friday, Freire will again try to gain credit for putting his featherweight belt on the line against Emmanuel Sanchez at the Bellator 255 Main Event at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.The bout is also a semi-final at the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix Freire, ESPN No. 4 featherweights, would like to add a tournament title to a mile-long list of successes

“Until someone cuts him off, I think he’s the best featherweight in the world right now,” said Bellator President Scott Coker

FREIRE SAT ALONE in his living room in Natal, watching UFC 257 in January 23 When Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in the co-main event on his UFC debut, Freire made some excited declarations that he was happy for his longtime Bellator- Fighter But there was also some empathy

“Chandler, like me, has spent most of his career in Bellator, spending all of his time as a top fighter with people who doubt his abilities, his opponents and his results,” Freire said. “He claimed he was No 1 I’m referring to him I’m going through this right now

“Of course it occurred to me that I could go in there [to the UFC] and do the same. It’s not a good position but it’s the nature of the sport. Of course I want to show everyone”

At Bellator 221 on 11 May 2019, Freire rose to lightweight to fight for the title – knocking out Chandler in 61 seconds.For Freire, it was perhaps the greatest win of a career that has garnered many wins, Freire has the most wins (19) in the history of Bellator and is one of only two promotion fighters to become double champion alongside heavyweight / light heavyweight Ryan Bader.He has the most featherweight wins in Bellator’s history (18) and is linked to Chandler for the most title fights (11) Freire has won six fights and completed six featherweight title defenses

Despite all of this, he suffers from the perception that Bellator doesn’t have the talent the UFC has, which is certainly an element of truth, although that doesn’t necessarily mean Freire wouldn’t beat the best UFC featherweights and lightweights, look at it at what Chandler Hooker did to And another former Bellator lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, became a UFC champion in the same division

“There are still people who don’t think so highly of me,” said Freire. “There are still people who don’t have me in the top 5 if I should be no 1 I consider myself No. 1 There’s only one real way to know for sure, and it’s for us to cross-promote each other “

That is very unlikely, however, the UFC has historically not been interested in sponsoring events with any other MMA company And last August, when UFC President Dana White was asked at a press conference what he thought of Freire as a fighter hold on, he said, he didn’t know

“It was only Dana White that Dana White was,” Freire said “The same crap just because I’m [in Bellator] I’m pretty sure he knows who I am”

After hearing White’s comments, Freire challenged UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski to a fight and offered White to bet $ 1 million that he would win no response was given

One way to sort out who’s the best: Freire signs with the UFC one day. He’s just 33. Chandler jumped at 34. Freire said he thought about it but never became a free agent He’s happy with Bellator and the money he’s making there. He’s the best fighter in the organization, and Freire said his fight wallets are more lucrative than some of the UFC’s top five fighters, including some champions

IF FREIRE NEVER tests himself in the UFC, the question that remains is whether he’s getting the respect he deserves as an elite fighter, Coker believes Bellator, now airing on Showtime, with a renewed engagement from parent company Viacom, Freires Case Will Help Coker said the three keys to building a star are “continuity, consistency, and a great TV partner.” “The word about Bellator has gotten around several branches over the years, from Fox Sports to Spike TV to CBS Sports Network

“What would Michael Jordan be if you didn’t have him on TV?” Said Coker “Now we have a home. It’s great for the company. Over there [at UFC] there is a propaganda machine and they have a very good one. For me this is what it is. Our victories there will remind people that: “Hey, it’s not the league, it’s the athlete who fights that really makes a difference – Michael Chandler is a good example”

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If Chandler wins UFC gold when he competes against Charles Oliveira next month, it will feel like another mark in the winning column for Freire, but with no upcoming matchups against the likes of Volkanovski, Max Holloway or Brian Ortega – the top 145 – Pounders in the UFC – it’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly where Freire is in the featherweight hierarchy of MMA

Freire has been a mentor to Cejudo for several years, the former UFC double champion said he was the last person to ask Cejudo for advice on the phone before his fights. the man known as the pit bull

“Man, he’s pound for pound to me,” Cejudo said. “Look, he got rid of the guy who was fighting for the belt [Chandler] in a minute. In my eyes this is the pound-for-pound king “

Bellator, Bellator 255

World news – CA – Bellator 255: Even as a two-parter, Patricio Freire is still fighting like a pit bull for recognition

Source: https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/31173533/bellator-255-even-two-division-champ-patricio-freire-fighting-pitbull-recognition