Patricio Freire is open to competing against the UFC’s best.
“Pitbull” won’t be following in the footsteps of former rival Michael Chandler. The Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion, Freire (31-4 MMA, 19-4 BMMA) doesn’t have interest in jumping from Bellator to the UFC right now. However, Freire hopes he can someday be a part of history by competing in a cross-promotion.
“I definitely want to have a shot at those guys – especially the ones that people say I can’t beat or that would beat me easily,” Freire recently told MMA Junkie. “It’s not that the UFC interests me most, actually. I’d like to create history, something new in the sport – to create a big cross-promotion, like in boxing (where) you have the champions sometimes fighting each other. That’s what we’re missing in MMA right now. I’d like to be the guy to start that.”
In order for a major cross-promotion to happen, MMA’s culture would need to shift. Although many in the industry are doubtful a UFC vs. Bellator cross-promotional matchup or event ever will occur, Freire isn’t ruling it out.
“There’s something more that I would like to add to this sport,” Freire said. “I’d like to be part of this big movement to make this change (and) force the UFC. I already beat your future champion. So let’s put everyone together and see who’s really the best. The fans would want that. The sport needs that. No more, ‘This promotion or that promotion?’ There is a business side of things, but people want to see the best fighting the best.”
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While Freire would be willing to fight any reputable foe that is in the “best in the world” conversation, “Pitbull” specifically mentioned former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (22-6 MMA, 18-6 UFC) as a fight that interests him.
“(The future) belongs to God,” Freire said. “We’ll see what’s next. Maybe Max Holloway gets tired of making pennies in the UFC and comes to Bellator so we can make a huge stadium show in Hawaii. We could see a change from the top guys from the UFC (coming) to Bellator.
“If they don’t think there is money here, that’s a lie. Bellator would be willing to pay for those who deserve it. We will see what the future reserves – where I’ll be at, where they’ll be at, and what Bellator will be willing to do. But I don’t have any worries. I know it’s going to do something good.”