Brazilian featherweight champions Jose Also and Patricio “Pitbull” Friere are top talent fighters. Jose Aldo has defended the UFC featherweight title 7 times consecutively. “Pitbull” just earned the featherweight title in a decision victory over Pat Curran, but has always been competitive at the top of the Bellator featherweight division. The cross-promotion question comes up many times in MMA, and the featherweight champions recently shared their thoughts with Tatame Magazine.
“It would be a great fight,” Jose Aldo said. “We’re both aggressive fighters, we’re the best featherweights in the world. The champions, the titleholders. It would be a great fight, no doubt about it.”
Pitbull showed respect for Aldo’s last Challenger Chad Mendes, who lost via unanimous decision in October at UFC 179. When it comes to picking his next challenger, however, Pitbull would love to give Aldo a run at his money.
“I think I’m the only guy that can do a close fight with you,” Freire said. “We know that Chad Mendes also did, but I think I can do better and maybe bring the win to my team. But, of course, I know that you would hurt me a lot, but I will also hurt you [laughs].
“I know you’re the toughest fighter I would ever fight in my life,” Pitbull said. “You’re a complete fighter, with almost no holes in the game, but I can see some small details where I can go in. I know you also see details in my game that you can work on, but it would be an aggressive fight with a lot of heart and soul. The sport is a war to see who wants it more.”
While Bellator is widely cosidered the world’s second largest MMA promotion, the UFC champion sees an equal level of talent in both organizations’ featherweight division.
“I see (the featherweights at Bellator) at the same level today. Bellator is the second-biggest promotion in the world today,” Aldo said. “Here in the UFC, we have more names because (the promotion) is older than Bellator. (Bellator) is growing now, but already has tough fighters too. Bellator is not far behind. The different is that the UFC is on the road for a long time.”
Will it ever happen? The UFC is historically not open to cross-promoted fights. Scott Coker, on the other hand, traded fighters many times in his days as Strikeforce President. Read our exclusive interview with Scott to see where he stands on the idea as Bellator CEO.