RIO DE JANEIRO -- Patricio Freire will finally fight for the featherweight title, but he’s not completely satisfied.
"Pitbull" earned his second shot at the gold after winning the 145-pound tournament, but the promotion decided to give Pat Curran an immediate rematch at Daniel Strauss first. Curran claimed his title back with a submission victory, and "Pitbull" is anxious to rematch him.
"Thanks God this dream is back in my head," Freire told MMAFighting.com. "I had forgotten about (the title) already. I had given up on being Bellator champion, but I still have three fights left on my contract, and I have to do them. This is a fight that I really want. I feel I won that and I’m really happy to fight for the title now. I want to be world champion and this is my time."
Curran defeated Freire by split decision back in 2013. The Brazilian felt he won the fight, though, and he doesn’t plan to leave it to the judges this time.
"Our first fight was a high-level, beautiful boxing match, but I can do more," he said. "I can work with kicks and use my ground game. I want to knock Pat Curran out to earn the respect I deserve. I want to be feared in my division."
"Pitbull" headlines Bellator 121 card against Curran on June 6 in Thackerville, Okla. but fighting for the championship won’t make him forget what Bellator did to him in the past.
"I didn’t forgive them, the wound is still open," he said. "You can’t erase the past, it left scars. Bellator disrespected me and they will have to be really generous to me to repair it. They will have to give me better things to make me forget about it."
"I will turn 27, and I have had many fights in my career. I did a lot of things the world didn’t see," he continued. "I will do anything I have to do for my career. I can’t wait much longer. If Bellator tells me it’s happening now, I will stay (in Bellator). If they don’t give me what I deserve, I will leave for the promotion that offers me a better opportunity.
The most important thing is mutual respect. I respected Bellator, but when it was time for them to respect me back, they gave preference to their guy. I don’t want to be their guy, I just want them to give me what I deserve. I was the one who did more for Bellator, so I should be the one who makes more money in there."
Freire was disappointed to the promotion when Curran got another shot at the gold, but one of the things he can’t stand is the way Bellator treats UFC veterans like Tito Ortiz, Cheick Kongo and Quinton Jackson.
"I feel devalued," he said. "I grew up a lot as a fighter in Bellator, but I also helped them grow as a company. I’m a big name in Bellator, and I can’t accept someone coming from another promotion and having more power than me."