Two-weight Bellator MMA champion, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire has received some very high praise from former two-division UFC titleholder, Henry ‘Triple C’ Cejudo — with the Olympic gold medalist labeling the Brazilian as the best featherweight on the planet right now.
Cejudo has been very vocal off the back of his May 2020 retirement from professional mixed martial arts — namely hinting at a return to the sport against the likes of current bantamweight and featherweight champions, Aljamain Sterling and Alexander Volkanovski, respectively.
A former undisputed flyweight and bantamweight champion under the UFC’s banner, Cejudo has claimed that he owes a lot of his success to Freire, detailing how he “stole” his stance from the Brazilain during the latter stages of his gold-laden career.
Briefly training alongside Freire in Natal, Brazil — Cejudo explained how he traveled to South America alongside his head coach, Eric Albarracin — adopting a karate-type stance which he began to utilize on route to a second-round knockout win over former title challenger, Wilson Reis. “I stole his (Patricio Freire’s) stance,” Cejudo said during a recent interview with ESPN. “I owe a lot of my success to Patricio Pitbull.”
The winner of a stunning seven consecutively, Freire knocked back Emannuel Sanchez for the second time in the space of three years at Bellator 255 at the beginning of this month. Defending the featherweight title in the semi-final of the division’s Grand Prix, Freire scored an impressive first-round guillotine win.
Slated to now clash with rising standout, the undefeated 17-0, A.J. McKee in the promotion’s Grand Prix finale, Freire is tasked with toppling a force who has trailblazed his way through competition on route to the final, including Darrion Caldwell — whom he submitted with a stunning modified neck crank at Bellator 253 last November.
Regarded as one of the most decorated mixed martial artists of all time, Cejudo, who called time on his career boasting a 16-2 record, bowed out of the sport at UFC 249 back in May of last year — stopping former two-time bantamweight best, Dominick Cruz with a second-round knee to score his sole successful title defence at 135-pounds.