When talking about the most talented and skillful fighters competing outside of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire must come to mind. The Bellator champ has an outstanding record of 24-2, avenging one of the losses already, with the other being extremely controversial.
Speaking recently with Brazilian media (Via Bloody Elbow), “Pitbull” showed that not only does he have top-level skills, but he is also extremely confident in those skills, saying that he’s at the top, and not even dominant UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo should be ranked above him. Freire even said that he’s positive he would beat Aldo if the two ever met:
“I’m at the top. You can rank Aldo and no one else ahead of me right now. But not for long. I’m positive I’d beat Aldo. Some of the guys people say would beat me I just shake my head and ask myself if they’re serious. Look, I have 26 fights, should be 26-0. I have been dominant in 90% of those. I haven’t been fighting scrubs. Ever since I began I fought the toughest guys that they could put in front of me. Now because of my last two fights people want to write me off? Fights that I won, by the way.”
“Fedor was rocked by Fujita, he was suplexed by Randleman, Floyd Mayweather was rocked by Shane Mosley, there are so many examples of things like this happening in combat sports. How many comebacks has Minotauro been known for? If you think making a comeback and overcoming adversities is a signal of weakness you couldn’t be more wrong.”
Continuing on, “Pitbull” said that he believes people need to stop ranking fighters based on where they fight, saying that Bellator fighters can have success in the UFC and vice versa. The champion said fighters need to be analyzed based simply on their skills:
“Bellator fighters can have success in the UFC as UFC fighters can have success on Bellator, most times it’s all about match ups. Everyone called the WEC Lightweight guys cans and yet the two champions before Rafael dos Anjos were from the WEC. His next title challenger is from the WEC. Frankie Edgar, who was the UFC Lightweight champion, wasn’t able to capture the Featherweight belt and is behind Aldo and Chad Mendes on the rankings.”
“You have to analyze us by our skills, not just where we’re fighting. People said Cain would destroy Werdum and Rafael had no chance at Pettis. What happened in those fights? They were on the same organization, yet people were completely wrong.”
“If Bellator was the number 1 promotion, we’d be the top fighters and if anyone said a UFC fighter could become champion at Bellator people would laugh the same way they laugh when there’s talks about a Bellator fighter becoming UFC champion.”
“I don’t think this perception of fighters from a certain organization being better will ever change, but one thing I can say for sure: you can never count me out of a fight, against anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances. I’m a small guy slaying giants and I’ll keep doing so. One day you all will have to recognize me. What I did, how I did it, and everything that comes after. My history at the top is just beginning.”
“Pitbull” may have a point, as his skills have been on dominant display, despite fighting in what many consider to be a lesser promotion. Could Freire succeed in the UFC, and do we have a potential super fight between him and Aldo on our hands if he ever does make it to the UFC?