Patricio Freire is focused on regaining the Bellator featherweight championship, but he already has another champion in mind as well.
“Pitbull" will face Daniel Straus for the fourth time in the main event of Bellator 178 on Friday. He’s looking to go 3-1 against the current 145-pound titleholder, then after that, he wants to move up to lightweight to take on champion Michael Chandler.
"I don’t want Michael Chandler’s belt. I want his head,” Freire told MMA Fighting. "I don’t want that piece of metal, I want to rip his head off. I want to kill him. That’s the word. For real. I want to beat him up so bad that I want him to have ill aftereffects."
"Pitbull" explained that his rivalry with the lightweight talent started after Chandler’s first win over his brother, Patricky Freire, back in 2011. They recently fought a second time, with Chandler winning the vacant belt with a highlight-reel knockout in a little over two minutes.
"The first fight was close, and he fought dirty,” Freire said. "He hit my brother with three low blows and wasn’t punished. My brother came back to fight because he’s a man, but it wasn’t fair. It was a close fight before he landed the illegal blows, and then he started going for takedowns with that lay and pray game. He knocked my brother out in the second fight, but I already wanted to fight him before that. I knew it would be a good fight. He does some unnecessary things. He thinks he’s better than everyone, and he’s not. Someone has to stop him, and I’m the one to stop him.
"He’s stupid, a jerk,” Freire continued. "Nobody likes him. He can’t stay in one gym, nobody likes him. Not even the promotion likes him, and he knows that. I’ll beat him up. I don’t care if he has the belt or not, I want his head. I want to hurt him.”
Chandler is currently slated to defend his belt against undefeated contender Brent Primus at Bellator’s first trip to New York on June 24, and Freire guarantees he’s focused only on Straus now despite calling for a fight with the lightweight kingpin.
"Every fight is the fight of my life, and my fight right now is Daniel Straus,” said Freire, who lost the belt in their last bout, via unanimous decision, in Nov. 2015. "He has something that I have to return to my son.”
Should he beat Straus later this month, “Pitbull" admits that there are plenty of fighters that deserve a shot at the 145-pound belt, but he would prefer to move up to lightweight before defending the strap.
"I respect the division, so I’m obligated to mention a few names here because they are working hard for this,” the Brazilian said. "Daniel Weichel, someone that I have already knocked out, is coming strong.
"There’s also Emmanuel Sanchez, Pat Curran, Conor McGregor’s teammate James Gallagher, and A.J. McKee. They are coming off good wins, they are coming up. I don’t know what’s going to happen, if I’m fighting one of these guys or if I’m fighting Michael Chandler,” Freire added.
"Chandler said at the press conference in New York that he wants to fight me, and I want the same. If you ask me, I want Michael Chandler after this fight."