Bellator MMA plays home to several of the world’s very best hand to hand combatants. Some of which are treated to brighter spotlights than others.
No matter how underrated or underappreciated, the hardest workers and consistently successful athletes end up finding their ways. And that has exactly been the case for the now arguably greatest fighter in the promotion’s history, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
One-half of the famous Bellator Pitbull brothers, the younger Patricio is a two-time featherweight champion as well as the current titleholder. Despite being one of the best 145-pounders on the planet for the better half of the last decade, Pitbull recently tried his hand at capturing a second divisional title at lightweight.
Clashing with his brother’s former rival in perennial lightweight king, the three-time 155-pound champion, Michael Chandler this past weekend at Bellator 221, it would be Pitbull who came away victorious in the battle for the label of Bellator’s all-time best. And all he needed was 61 seconds to do so.
Now the second dual weight class champion in promotional history behind Ryan Bader who currently holds the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles, the Brazilian was already established as one of the best fighters in the world, but now his spot is completely cemented… but there are still ways for him to launch himself into a whole new stratosphere of greatness.
That’s why today we call upon the almighty MMA Gods for a request; please give Patricio Pitbull his chance at becoming the first major MMA three-division champion in the sport’s history.
What do you guys think of me going after the third belt? O que acham de eu ir pegar o terceiro cinturão? https://t.co/KrbO4HtWae
— Patricio Freire (@PatricioPitbull) May 16, 2019
Understandably so, the initial thought of thinking of a guy who just fought at 155-pounds then fighting at 135-pounds is pretty perplexing. But with his own openness towards it, why the hell not give it some attention?
The current Bellator bantamweight champion is Alliance MMA’s “Wolf,” Darrion Caldwell.
A former featherweight in his own right, Caldwell was actually aiming to try and achieve double champ status himself prior to Pitbull even getting the opportunity. That, of course, meaning that the two would have been meeting at Pitbull’s longtime home of featherweight.
However, things have gotten a whole lot more exciting since then.
Over the past year, Caldwell has gone on to try and capture a second title at bantamweight by crossing over to RIZIN Fighting Federation in Japan where he challenged one of the best lighter weight class fighters in the world, Kyoji Horiguchi for the inaugural RIZIN bantamweight title.
Incredibly, Caldwell would come up short in the match-up that he was stylistically heavily favored in. And that’s how the fight looked for the first two and a half rounds… but a fight isn’t over until it’s over as proven once again.
With Horiguchi snatching up the late come from behind guillotine win, he was now the new RIZIN champion and, if we want to get technical, the lineal Bellator champion.
At Bellator 222 in Madison Square Garden on June 14, the bantamweights will run it back but this time in the Bellator cage for Caldwell’s title.
Never one to back away from anyone or a chance to make some history, it’s not surprising that Pitbull likes the idea of dropping down to 135-pounds for a third strap. And a match-up against either, or both of Horiguchi and Caldwell, is incredibly interesting to say the least.
With the 5-foot-10 Caldwell, although Pitbull has fought as high as lightweight now, he would still be undersized against the 2009 NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion. And with that wrestling edge in favor of the bantamweight titleholder, he would be one of the Brazilian’s toughest opponents to date in that regard. Though Pitbull’s overall game is notably more complete. But then we have to take into consideration how the cut down may affect him physically, all things making it more compelling.
And a Horiguchi fight is where the possibilities get the most exciting. The Japanese superstar is RIZIN’s golden boy and his immediate future depends a lot on how the Caldwell rematch goes. Because if he wins, he’s contractually obligated to defend his Bellator title at least once per year. Of course, with the ability to continue fighting over in Japan as he has been since departing from the UFC in 2016.
A second Horiguchi win over Caldwell gives a Pitbull match-up a stronger chance of happening in Bellator as well as just overall since he will have to fight there. And boy oh boy, the super fight element would be further through the roof in that case.
The options don’t end there though as Pitbull could bounce over to the RIZIN ring to compete under a new ruleset that aids in his already violent style. Something fans have been begging for since the Bellator and RIZIN partnership really began to pick up steam.
Just seeing how Pitbull would deal with Horiguchi’s speed and striking versatility would be a treat for MMA fans around the world. Along with any scramble leaving a potential opening for a submission from either man, it would be an attention-demanding contest. And the new opportunities to make history go above and beyond anything that Pitbull could have predicted prior to the RIZIN relationship and his second divisional title crowning.
The probability of his arrival at 135-pounds just really depends on how Bellator wants to go about their upcoming 16-man featherweight tournament. Because for example, with the current 170-pound welterweight tournament underway, the champion Rory MacDonald is a participant rather than waiting to see a top contender blossom. Now that Pitbull has a second title, the need for him to compete in that tournament goes down significantly as he can defend his lightweight title or challenge at 135 while 145 sorts itself out.
Therefore on this post-Bellator 221 Thursday we write to you… dear MMA Gods, let us find out how much gold this pitbull can carry.
Pitbull vs Caldwell chance of happening at bantamweight: 50%
Pitbull vs Caldwell chance of happening at featherweight: 70%
Pitbull vs Horiguchi chance of happening in Bellator: 35%
Pitbull vs Horiguchi chance of happening in RIZIN: 17%
Check out the previous articles in the Dear MMA Gods series below:
- Can we get an Iron-Highlight one day?
- It’s not too late for the WEC super fight
- The true time for Affliction is now…
- We need to see Cyborg’s toughest test
- Let’s see how mighty this mouse really is
- Tyron Woodley’s ultimate redemption
- Give Gegard Mousasi his chance to fully cement himself as a legend of the sport
- Khabib Nurmagomedov’s funky battle of perfect records
- Bless us with Max Holloway vs Tony Ferguson
- The collision of the mega powers
- A ‘violenceweight’ super fight
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2019