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Patricio Pitbull says it’ll be hard to deny him as one of MMA’s greats with third belt in Bellator

Bellator 286: Pitbull vs. Borics at the Long Beach Arena
Patricio Pitbull
Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Patricio Pitbull once held two Bellator belts simultaneously, reigning at featherweight and lightweight. Now he’ll attempt to do it again when he drops down to bantamweight to challenge Bellator champion Sergio Pettis on July 16.

Yet even though no MMA fighter has ever won titles in three different divisions for a major promotion, Pitbull feels that his accomplishment won’t receive the credit it deserves by a portion of the MMA media and fans because it’s being done under the Bellator umbrella.

“I stopped thinking about that a long time ago,” Pitbull said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I have a lot of submissions, I have a lot of knockouts, I’ve been fighting overseas since 2010, and I was never the ‘Submission of the Year,’ I was never the ‘Knockout of the Year,’ the ‘Athlete of the Year.’ I think media has been ignoring me a bit, but my results don’t depend on what the media thinks.

“Some people might think I’m upset with that, that I’m not being valued, but I have an organization that values me, that does everything it can. An excellent platform. [Bellator] has plans to come to Brazil now and they definitely will. I do it for my legacy. Maybe global sports media still doesn’t recognize me after I win this title, but it will be hard to explain in the history of the sport how that guy won three belts in different divisions and you didn’t see, you didn’t notice. It will be on them. I’m not worried.”

Ultimately, Pitbull feels he would receive more credit for his achievement if it happened inside the UFC octagon.

“I don’t understand the resistance against the great fighters we have in Bellator, but it’s getting hard to hide it,” Pitbull said. “It’s hard to hide Fedor [Emelianenko], who ended his career in Bellator. It’s hard to hide Cris Cyborg, the greatest of all-time — there’s Amanda Nunes, I have a ton of respect for her, she’s my friend, double champion and beat Cris, but the career as a whole, Cris was the greatest.

“I’m making some noise too with the numbers and records and belts — maybe another one — so it’s hard to tell the story [of MMA] without talking about us.”

Pitbull challenges Pettis in the co-main event of Bellator 297 eight months after defending his 145-pound title against Adam Borics, and six months after of his win over RIZIN featherweight champion Kleber Koike in Japan.

The weight cut has been hard, but not as difficult as he anticipated it to be, Pitbull said, and the plan is to move up to featherweight again before defending the bantamweight throne against grand prix winner and interim champion Patchy Mix.

“A two-division champion has that kind of work ahead, I have to be ready to gain or cut weight and defend the title,” he said. “I think the offer will be good [to return to bantamweight and face Mix]. I want to them to make me smile [with an offer]. I’m already smiling, but I want more. This is something not many can do, it’s a hard cut, so it has to pay a bit more. But Bellator is taking good care of me.”

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