Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, Bellator‘s two-division champion, is currently riding an impressive 6 fight win streak. This recent run of form includes KO finishes over Michael Chandler and Pedro Carvalho. And yet he is often criminally overlooked by MMA media and fans alike.
At the time of writing, Pitbull is ranked at 21 in Tapology’s world featherweight divisional rankings. This leaves him fighters such as Jeremy Stephens (0-4-1 in his last 5 fights) and Edson Barboza (2-3 in his last 5 fights). Who, whilst being undeniably exceptional fighters in their own right, do not have a recent resume close to what Patricio has achieved.
Speaking with LowKick MMA’s Frank Bonada, Pitbull vented his frustration at being so underappreciated and overlooked.
“That’s a big pile of s**t,” Pitbull said of the Tapology rankings. “Michael Chandler is the 6th or 5th lightweight in the world right now, in UFC. And I beat him in sixty seconds. I have the record of title defences in Bellator. And you’re saying there’s eighteen better guys in the featherweight division than me? That’s why most of these rankings I don’t give a s**t about them. They’re bad, they’re awful. And shouldn’t be considered at all.”
The primary reason Freire attributes to this pattern of disrespect is due to the stranglehold the UFC holds over MMA. Whilst Bellator does it’s own fanbase, it pales in comparison to Dana White‘s MMA goliath. However, as Freire mentioned earlier, Michael Chandler, a former foe of Pitbull’s, jumped straight into the top 5 of the UFC rankings, off the back of just one fight. This demonstrates the level of quality there is at organisations such as Bellator, but also highlights the lack of exposure they receive due to not being signed by the UFC. Freire had the following to say on the matter:
“I don’t know because the rankings in MMA, they’re very political. You know, they favour one single promotion. And at the end of the day, some of the greatest end up forgotten. Like we have Fedor, just because he never fought for the UFC, many people don’t know who he was. And he’s one of the greatest of all time. He’s definitely the greatest heavyweight of all time. But even before he lost, he was already dropping in the rankings.”
Regardless of public perception or rankings, Pitbull allows his work in the cage to speak for itself. The double champ is focused on legacy over hype.
“I know what I’ve done. I know the records that I have. I’m past the point of caring about what these rankings represent. I still find they’re s**t. I don’t fight for the media, or to be ranked, I already know where I stand in this division. That’s all that matters to me.”
Pitbull Freire is set to face off against Emmanuel Sanchez in the semi-final of Bellator’s featherweight grand Prix. The fight takes place at Bellator 255, on April 2nd.