Stuck with undesired rematch, Bellator 194's Patricky Freire wants fans to demand his title shot

13 February 2018

A rematch wasn’t high on Patricky Freire’s list coming off back-to-back wins over Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. But he’s done complaining about his career.

Freire and his brother, featherweight champ Patricio Freire, have been two of the most vocal fighters in the Viacom-owned promotion. But the elder “Pitbull” is trying a new tack.

“I don’t want to verbally convince the boss that I deserve another title shot,” Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) told MMAjunkie in advance of his second fight against Derek Campos (19-6 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), which takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and airs live on Paramount. “I want to keep winning. I want to demonstrate that I have what it takes to be the next champion. I want the fans to start asking the promotion.

“It’s not about whether I feel I deserve it, or it being my turn. I would like my American and Brazilian fans to start demanding this from the promotion.”

Back-to-back wins over ex-champs certainly boosted Freire’s stock, which is why he was a little puzzled to be pitched Campos as his next challenge. But he decided that staying active is most important as he builds a case with the promotion and the public.

“This isn’t the opponent I wanted,” he said. “I always like to face different fighters. But Derek Campos is coming off four wins. No matter what, whether I win or he does, one of us should challenge for the belt next. If that doesn’t happen, it would bother me.

“If Bellator allows me to keep fighting and making money, it wouldn’t bother me as much. I just don’t want to be idle for a long time. Derek Campos, after he lost to me, only lost to Michael Chandler. He beat Derek Anderson, who defeated me twice. He currently has two victories by decision, and two by knockout. He’s near the top, as I am, and we’re close to fighting for the belt.”

It’s a position Freire knows well. He repeatedly has come close to the lightweight title, only to stumble at the last step. A knockout loss nearly two years ago to current champ Michael Chandler was his latest setback.

The loss didn’t inform Freire’s current strategy. Rather, it was his most recent opponents that taught him the importance of action over words.

“Beating two opponents like Ben Henderson and Josh Thomson, I believe it’s something every fighter wants in his career,” Freire said. “They’re both big names in MMA – great champions. They’ve both had great battles. They’’e two fighters I’ve beaten. Having to face them made me evolve even more as an athlete, and as a person. I also see how humble they both are on a personal level. We can learn from that.

“Great athletes are also very humble, as opposed to others who haven’t accomplished half as much, but act with arrogance. They think they’re a big deal. They’re not. I did a lot of learning, even in victory.”

Now, he hopes to apply that to his second meeting with Campos. And if all goes well, he might not need to ask for a golden opportunity.

For more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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