SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Darrion Caldwell is locked in on the goal of fighting for the Bellator featherweight title after scoring an impressive knockout of Noad Lahat at Bellator 204.
Caldwell (13-1 MMA, 10-1 BMMA), the current Bellator bantamweight champ, returned to the 145-pound division on Friday and defeated Lahat (12-4 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) by second-round knockout in the Paramount-televised headliner at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. He said the performance should put him at the top of the queue in terms of title contenders in the division.
The current featherweight titleholder in Bellator is Patricio Freire (27-4 MMA, 15-4 BMMA), who Caldwell has been engaged in somewhat of a feud with since beating Freire’s teammate, Leandro Higo, at Bellator 195 in March. “Pitbull” wants to fight Caldwell, as well, but said he would rather go down and challenge for a second title rather than giving Caldwell that opportunity by coming up.
What makes the situation even more complex is that Freire is set to defend his belt against Emmanuel Sanchez in November. That leaves Caldwell waiting in the wings, but he said he’s going after the belt next regardless of who is holding it.
“There’s no need to hide, bro,” Caldwell told reporters, including MMAjunkie, during his post-fight scrum. “You’re talking about coming down to 135. I doubt you get past this fight (against Sanchez), which really kind of sucks for me. I really want to beat your (expletive) ass at 145. But I doubt you get past this fight. So at the end of the day, it’s not really about you. It’s about the 145-pound belt.
“Whoever has the 145-pound belt, it’s my job to get the title. It doesn’t matter who it is. If you do still have the title and you still talking about coming down, we can meet at 140 and we can put both belts on the line.”
Caldwell, 30, used several curse words to describe his feelings about Freire booking a fight just days before his bout at Bellator 204, but he said he’s not getting hung up on the situation.
Although the feud with Freire is a nice storyline to build interest in addition to the champion-vs.-champion narrative, Caldwell said he has his sights set on the bigger picture. He wants to achieve things in Bellator that no one else has done, and he made it clear that doesn’t stop with putting just two belts over his shoulders.
“I want the 145-pound strap,” Caldwell said. “It doesn’t matter. (Freire) made it a thing when he disrespected me during my interview after Leandro Higo, his cousin. He made it personal. The 145-pound strap is going to be mine eventually. Whenever Bellator’s ready for me to fight of the 145-pound title, it’s going to happen. I’m going to be the champion there. I’m all for Patricio coming down to 135 and getting his ass kicked, too, but again, 145 first. I need two straps. Then I’m going up to 155 ,and I want three.”
Freire said post-fight that he was “not impressed” by Caldwell’s showing in his stoppage of Lahat. His older brother, Patricky Freire (19-8 MMA, 12-7 BMMA), also chimed in as well, claiming he’d finish Caldwell with “a slap.”
Caldwell reiterated that the title alone is what’s on his hit list, but if he’s able to get through one – or both – of the “Pitbull” brothers on the way that, he said it would be a welcomed bonus.
“I think him and his brother both stink,” Caldwell said. “I’ve seen them (regress) over the past couple years. Once I get my hands on them, it’s over for them.
“The next fight for me is Patricio ‘Pitbull.’ And hey, if his brother wants to jump in, we can go three rounds. I’ll fight Patricio the first two and, then I’ll fight his brother the third. He’s in quicksand when he’s walking. They’re both slow. Patricio is weak as (expletive). So just give me that fight.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Darrion Caldwell trashes 'Pitbull' brothers after Bellator 204, says title comes before rivalry