With a featherweight title fight against Emmanuel Sanchez ahead of him, Bellator double-champ Patricio Pitbull still appears focused on fighters outside of his own promotion.
The featherweight and lightweight title holder in Bellator MMA has been calling for a shot against former UFC champ Max Holloway. He reiterated that desire on Tuesday, following a press conference announcing Bellator’s move to Showtime, the unveiling of its light heavyweight grand prix, and resumption of the featherweight grand prix.
Pitbull vs. Sanchez is the second semifinal in that 145lb tournament. But outside interests including Holloway and boxing still have Patricio Freire’s eye. “I like that, we can put Bellator in this TV [network, Showtime]. Also we can do a boxing match-up. I’m looking for that too,” he said in a live video scrum with media outlets including Cageside Press.
Showtime, of course, has long been involved in the boxing world. “Maybe Adrian Broner, I hear he’s a Showtime athlete,” Pitbull’s coach and translator, Eric Albarracin, suggested.
“I can beat that motherf*cker,” chimed in Pitbull. Broner (33-4-1, 1NC), 31, has held belts in four different weight classes in boxing. But he hasn’t won a fight since 2017, and is 0-2-1 in his last three matches.
Holloway is a different story. The former UFC champion is coming off one of the best performances of his career at UFC on ABC 1 in January. “Blessed” absolutely annihilated Calvin Kattar in the fight. “I know he’s tough, I know he’s good, I know his entire career, he’s a good fighter,” admitted Pitbull. “But I know I’m better. I know Bellator is the A-league. So if they want to prove I’m wrong, let’s put me against Max [in a] fight, and see who’s the best featherweight in the world.”
It’s an interesting callout, given that for one, Holloway is no longer the champion in the UFC. And beyond that, it’s a fight the UFC, loathe to ever book cross-promotional efforts, would never make. In the meantime, Pitbull is set to return on April 2 at Bellator 255, where he defends his title in a featherweight grand prix semi-final against Sanchez.