It’s always hard to get ready for a MMA fight without injuries after a hard training camp, but "Pitbull" had several bad injuries when he stepped inside the Bellator cage against the last man to hand him a loss.
"I was in New York for a Bellator photo shoot and they asked me to throw some flying knees, but I was landing on the concrete. I did it 30 times, and ended up injuring my meniscus," Freire told MMAFighting.com. "I couldn’t train. I went to the doctor and he said I couldn’t fight. Bellator took me to another doctor and he said the same thing, so I canceled the fight. I forgot about my diet, forgot about the fight."
MMAFighting.com learned about the injury days before the event, but Freire denied the information. He said he was fine, and he was still set to fight Curran in Connecticut. He was confirmed at the event at that point, but he wasn’t a couple days before.
"I was asked a few times about the injury, and I said it wasn’t true," he said. "I actually canceled the fight a couple weeks before the event, I said I couldn’t do it. I had the worst camp of my life. I was so injured I couldn’t throw a kick, and then I injured my shoulder and I couldn’t throw a punch, too. I usually train twice a day, and I was barely training once a day. I had fever every time I stopped training. It was terrible."
Bellator insisted, and his team convinced him to go on and fight for the title.
"Three days after I pulled out of the fight, Bellator called me again asking me if I was good to fight. I said I was still recovering, so they gave me a week to think," he said. "They called me again on Aug. 29, a week before the fight. My manager Jorge Guimaraes told me ‘man, let’s do this, you are ready. Every fighter has injuries. Get some rest, make weight, and let’s do this.’ I sparred, did five rounds, so I decided to take the fight."
According to the new champion, Curran knew he was injured because Bellator contacted other featherweights to get a replacement ready just in case "Pitbull" couldn’t fight.
"Curran knew I was injured because they tried to get him another opponent, so he knew I was dealing with some issues. But that fight was tough, man," he said. "Curran gave me the toughest wars of my life. And I believe the fight would be even tougher if I was 100 percent.
"I knew it would be a war, and I would have to do my best in there to win the title. I didn’t want to leave it to the judges, but Curran is so tough. I knew I was winning, but I kept pushing forward and attacking him, and it paid off."
"I can’t describe my emotions when I got that title. It was a dream coming true," he continued. "My whole life I dreamed about being a world champion, and I still can’t believe I’m a world champion."
Freire will likely have to go under the knife now, but his knee isn’t the issue that has to be fixed with a surgery.
"I will probably need to undergo a nose surgery. I don’t know yet," he said. "But I won’t need surgery for my knee injury. Just rehab."