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Patricky Pitbull has 'no intention' of staying at 155 if Bellator title isn't next

One of Bellator's top lightweight fighters has a firm plan in mind for his immediate future, either he gets a shot at Will Brooks and the Bellator lightweight title, or he's on his way to featherweight.

Patricky Freire has been a Bellator staple for almost as long as the promotion has been around. He started with the now Spike TV organization back at Bellator 36, when it was still on ESPNDeportes and just two years after the first event. His time under Bellator hasn't been all smooth sailing. He's gone 7-5 over the past four and a half years with big wins over Rob McCullough, Toby Imada, and David Rickels and some surprising losses. Freire dropped bouts to Lloyd Woodard and Derek Anderson, both fights he was heavily favored in and the latter of which capped of a year and a half long run that seemed to show a dramatic dip in form for the promising Brazilian fighter.

Since that loss to Anderson, however, Freire has returned to form. His striking has looked sharper, his output  higher, his cardio better. And now, he's facing the California native again. And while it won't be the biggest fight of his career, a win could give Freire the chance to close the book on a low point in his time as a pro fighter.

"I was going through a tough time in my life," Patricky told Bloody Elbow, when speaking about his first fight with Anderson. "I had depression; I didn't even know I had that at the time. I was away from my family, my life there wasn't ideal. I was struggling financially and I was coming from several losses, two or three losses before. I was probably at the best place to be, I was at Team Nogueira. I had great sparring partners, great coaches, but something was missing. Maybe I didn't has as much attention as I deserved, because there were several other important guys there, there were UFC guys there with big names. And things just didn't feel right at the time. The way it was, it was like I should have everything, but although I was training really well it wasn't translating to the fight. I wasn't happy and I was missing my family a lot, for more than a year I didn't see anyone. It just didn't click to me, at the time.

"It would be a closing chapter for all the bad times I was going through, for the depression and being away from my family."

"It would be a closing chapter for all the bad times I was going through, for the depression and being away from my family. Now, I am back to Natal, I am with my own team, and I have everyone near me. So it would probably be a coronation of all this. But professionally, it wouldn't be the same. To me, it would be like getting a taste of the joy that I thought I would have that night. I think it was a bit controversial, I don't think his victory was so clear. So, professionally, that would be pretty much it. But, in my life, you could say, yeah, that it would be a coronation of the new moments I'm going through."

In a better place professionally than ever be, Freire sounds confident that he won't make the same mistakes he did in his last fight, most notably that means not overlooking Anderson's skills.

"There were a few things." Patricky said, when asked what surprised him about Anderson. "I mean, I was away for a long time. I was liking the fight early, and I just didn't perform like I should have. I started really well and then I was fading and my stamina was going away. My punches, I wasn't throwing them at the right time. I wasn't behaving like I should have. I gave him space to grow during the fight. I overlooked him a little bit. When I first saw video on him, I didn't think he was that much. So I ended up... A month before my fight I went to a smaller Team Nogueira school to help them there, they were opening the gym. I trained with some amateur guys, there was no pro guy there to train with me, and I stayed there for almost two weeks. It certainly cost me. I didn't prepare the best that I could and I shouldn't have overlooked him. He's not a great guy, but he's tough. He's not easy to fight, he never gives up, he's always looking to engage. I shouldn't have overlooked him last time.

But, all that doesn't mean that Freire is expecting Anderson to come to the table with a lot of new tricks for their second fight.

"He might try and bring something new to the table, try and surprise me. But, I don't think that it can or will happen. I just think he's going to be a little more active. He's coming from a good run of fights and he didn't baloon up this time. I noticed that after all his fights he'd be fat and this time he kept himself lean. Seeing as how he is a very tall guy for the weight class, he has a very good reach advantage, I think he's going to come and do the same. He's going to try and trade punches with me and try to win the fight with his striking."

Perhaps moreso than ever before, "Pitbull" seems to have a lot riding on this bout. While he's been to tournament finales, with title shots on the line, this bout will decide his future in the lightweight division. Win and he might stay for a title shot, lose and it's down to featherweight.

"If Bellator decides to give me one or two more fights before I fight Will Brooks, I have no intention to be at 155 anymore."

"What used to get in my way was my brother being there." Patricky said, when asked why he hand't dropped to featherweight earlier. "But it's a thought that has been going on in my mind. Every time I fight, the weight cut is easier every time; I see that I could make the drop easier. It will all come down to, what are Bellator's plans for the future and what happens in this fight? If I lose, god forbid, but if I lose, it would probably make my next fight at 145. But, if I win, which is what I believe is going to happen and I know is going to happen, it will all come down to if I'm getting the title shot next. If Bellator decides to give me one or two more fights before I fight Will Brooks, I have no intention to be at 155 anymore. My only reason to be here is to fight for the title and fight him. If it's not going to happen after I win this fight, then I'm moving out and going to 145."

And while his brother's presence in the division has prevented him from dropping before, Patricky recently stated that he would be willing to fight Patricio if the money was right. To date, it never has been.

"Of course not." Patricky was quick to reply when asked if he'd ever made the kind of money that would get him in the cage with his brother. "I can't even buy myself a house. I live in a rented house. I never made much money with fighting. I had a renegotiation of my deal with Bellator with the previous administration and it's a very long one. I haven't had any new negotiations since. My fighting purse right now is a good one, but I think from all the victories and results that I've had a couple years ago, I should have been getting this type of money back then. But, unfortunately I fought for very low purses and didn't have much chance to make a living out of it. The biggest fight of my career, which was against Eddie Alvarez, I was forced to fight for a purse of four digits. But, the new administration looks to be headed in a good direction. They seem to like us and to really care about us. I believe things will get better in time. I've only had two fights under the new administration and things are starting to get better now."

And if he does beat Anderson and if Bellator does offer him a title shot, Patricky Pitbull sounds like he is looking forward to fighting Will Brooks. He talked about the current lightweight champion and how his opinion of Brooks was downgraded (if maybe not changed all that much) after the altercation between the two men during fight week for Bellator 145.

"He's a very tough fighter. He's very good and I've said it a couple of times in past interviews: He's not technically sound, but he gets the job done. He's pretty good at following strategies, he's smart, and he puts everything together. He's a tough fighter, I give him merit for that, credit for that. He's able to win fights, to stick to his plan, and to execute things in positive ways. His fights aren't beautiful to watch, he's not an exciting fighter, but he gets the job done. And at the end of the day, that's what matters.

"As a person, as a champion, he's a clown, he's a fake. He's not humble, he's an arrogant prick."

"But, as a person, as a champion, he's a clown, he's a fake. He's not humble, he's an arrogant prick. I know for a fact that he doesn't say hello to some of his teammates. He goes to the gym like he's the king of the place, like people are beneath him. I know that because I've heard it from several people at ATT. He tries to present himself like that guy, like the team means something to him, but he only really cares about himself. He doesn't present himself in a good manner; he tries to portray this 'good boy' persona, but he's not that. He's not honest. He's a liar, and actually I got to see and hear that first hand, with all the lies he said about the recent incident that we had."

And it's really that potential title shot that is motivating him above all other things in his MMA career; the idea of becoming a champion, defending the belt, and crafting a reputation that will last beyond his fighting years.

"The first thing that came to my mind," Freire said, when asked what motivated him, "is that I want to be a champion. I put the effort in every day, and I train myself to be a champion. My brother felt the taste of it and I want to feel that taste as well. I want to know how it is to be a champion, I want to be a champion, I want to do it for a long time. But of course respect and recognition for all the hard work you put in and all the blood and sweat that you shed. For all the hours that you've been training and leaving things in your life aside for the purpose of being a fighter, to follow this career. That is very important. To retire some day and look back and be proud of everything you did of everything that people are saying. To see people congratulate you, that's very satisfying and that's something that definitely I fight for.

"But, financial recognition is also important. For fighting to be worth it, I need to get out of this with financial safety as well. I need to be able to accomplish things and have things. I don't want to retire and think that I maybe should have studied more, maybe I should have had another line of work, maybe I should have done something different because I would be able to buy a house, to buy a car, to have a retirement plan. So, money is really really importnat. It's not the most important aspect, but if you're doing this professionally, you have to have it. When it's all said and done, I hope I have accomplished everything, I hope I have the respect of everyone. I hope I become a champion and have done that for a long time. And I hope I have won a lot of money as well."

Patricky Pitbull fights Derek Anderson on the main card of Bellator 147 on Spike TV on Friday, December 4th. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickyPitbull.