clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Patricky Freire believes Josh Thomson can’t take a punch anymore

Patricky Freire (Bellator) Bellator MMA

Josh Thomson is undefeated inside the Bellator cage, but Patricky Freire has a theory as to why he hasn’t lost yet.

Freire, who faces the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and UFC veteran at Saturday’s Bellator 172 event at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., is happy to be facing someone like Thomson, but says that the AKA talent wasn’t tested after leaving the UFC with three straight losses.

“He didn’t fight anyone that put him in real danger in Bellator, any big name,” Freire told MMA Fighting. “Those three losses in the UFC, I only think he lost to (Tony) Ferguson. I scored the other two fights for him, against Ben Henderson and Bobby Green. But he hasn't fought anyone that challenged him, that put him in danger in Bellator. I’ll be the first athlete to offer him that.”

Thomson bounced from three decision losses inside the Octagon with stoppage wins over Mike Bronzoulis and Pablo Villaseca under the Bellator banner in 2015, and will be back in action for the first time since pulling out of a fight with Michael Chandler last May.

“Pitbull”, who replaced Thomson that night and lost to Chandler via first-round knockout, is also coming back from an injury, but won’t disclose what forced him out of a fight with Derek Campos in December.

“I'd rather not detail that right now,” Freire said. “It was a health issue that got me worried, but I’ll talk about that soon. But I’d rather remain quiet about this before this fight. I’ll talk about it, but not now.”

Freire guarantees he’s 100 percent fit to compete, though.

“I'm 100 percent and ready,” he said. “If I was feeling the same things I was feeling before, or even half of it, I wouldn't fight. I wouldn't risk my career to get in this fight."

"Feeling great and prepared” to fight at Bellator 172, the Brazilian lightweight aims to win over Thomson’s fans with a great performance in his hometown.

“He's a former Strikeforce champion, he knocked out a top 3 lightweight in the UFC (Nate Diaz), so I’m happy with the opportunity to fight him,” Freire said. “I'm hungry to win this fight. I see this victory as me conquering an empire, beating a warrior, and winning his fans. Many people will see me with different eyes, admire me. I’m sure that will happen when I win this fight.”

With six of his eight Bellator wins coming by way of knockout, Freire expects Thomson to avoid a stand-up war and go for takedowns right away in San Jose, especially because “his head is not the same anymore."

"I’m absolutely sure he won’t trade with me,” the Brazilian said. “He will try to grab me and use his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. He’s not a good striker. Even though he only has one loss by knockout, I don’t think his head is not good to strike with me now. He’s getting older. Don’t get me wrong, he has a great cardio, and is a super athlete with a lot to show, but his head is not the same anymore."

Asked if he thinks Thomson can’t take a punch anymore, Freire agrees.

“I don’t think he can take as much punishment as he used to before,” Freire said. “He showed that against Ferguson.”

Coming off a loss to the lightweight champion, “Pitbull" doesn't expect to earn another title shot with a win over Thomson on Saturday night, but sees himself getting one step closer to the belt.

“Right away or not, I think I’ll be really close to it,” Freire said. “The No. 1, or right after him. Winning this fight, and maybe one more, because I don’t want to stay inactive, I’ll be right up there."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting