“I am always motivated. My debut was in 2004, and now I have a lot
of years fighting and dedicating myself to this game, and I am
hungry every time,” Freire said at Saturday’s post-fight press
conference (video via MMAFighting.com).
“I spent a lot of years without being defeated, and today is a new
day for me. It’s a different kind of feeling, and I want to rest a
little bit, enjoy my son, my wife. But I will come back stronger. I
know that. Everyone says that when they get a defeat, but I am
Freire was rocked by a head kick and then dropped by punches near
the fence before McKee locked in the fight-ending guillotine choke
1:57 into the first round to capture the featherweight crown.
“Pitbull” had no issue giving credit to the new champion.
“On this night, he was great,” Freire said. “He kicked my head, and
he almost knocked me out, and he almost finished me. He was good,
After the win, McKee admitted that a move to 155 pounds was likely
in his future. That could mean a rematch with Freire, who remains
the promotion’s reigning lightweight champion.
“Before the fight I think he told somebody something like this, and
it’s a good thing,” Freire said. “He beat me in the featherweight
division. I know he’s big, he has trouble cutting weight. And let’s
think about it. I have a belt. I’m still a world champion.”
Freire was accompanied to the post-fight press conference by his
coach, Eric Albarracin, who laid out some ideal terms for a
potential lightweight title defense against McKee.
“If we do something like that, this time I’d like it to be in
Brazil,” Albarracin said. “This guy’s been here for 10 years,
double champ-champ, winningest fighter in Bellator history, most
title defenses. Why are we fighting in Los Angeles? He’s the
champ-champ. We’re fighting in the challenger’s hometown? Great, he
won, give it all to him — he slept in his own bed, his dad’s a
legend here, born and raised here, he’s born and raised here, 99
percent of the fans cheering for A.J., we’re in his house. Yet
[Freire] is double champ-champ? Great, he won. Let’s do it in
Brazil next. For one time, bring it to Brazil for the champ.
“Sixteen games in the NFL are played to get a home field advantage,
180 in baseball,” Albarracin continued. “He’s the world
champ-champ. You ask a warrior, ‘Hey, where you want to fight?’
They say anywhere, any time. But obviously not in the home town of
the challenger, giving him all the advantages — the youth, the
range, the reach, and then throw all the home field advantage,
where he’s sleeping and training in his own gym. We traveled 36
hours to get here. Let’s switch it up one time.”
Not surprisingly, Freire was on board with his Albarracin’s
“That’s why he’s my coach,” Freire said. “I need someone like him.
He’s right, I agree.”
Patricio Freire, Coach Interested in Rematch with A.J. McKee in Brazil for Lightweight Title
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