Patricio Pitbull won’t get dragged into talk about rivalries ahead of his featherweight title rematch with A.J. McKee at Bellator 277. He just wants his belt back.
Longtime featherweight champion Pitbull, who held Bellator’s championships at both 145 and 155 pounds, lost the featherweight strap to McKee at Bellator 263 in the final of the promotion’s featherweight grand prix.
Rather than turn his attention to his lightweight crown, he instead relinquished the 155-pound title to focus himself on regaining the featherweight belt, and he’ll face McKee in a hotly anticipated rematch in San Jose on Friday night.
Pitbull was previously considered to be Bellator’s premier pound-for-pound fighter, but McKee’s rise and subsequent win over the Brazilian has seen Pitbull installed as the betting underdog ahead of the title rematch.
However, the sportsbooks’ opinions are not a concern for the former two-division champion, whose sole aim is to regain championship gold at “The Shark Tank” on Friday night.
“My rivalry is against anyone that wants to put their hands on me,” he said at the pre-fight media day in San Jose.
“He has my belt, and I want to take it back.
“I don’t care about (being an underdog). The last fight I was the favorite, and I lost the fight.”
There are also no thoughts of Pitbull resting on his laurels and being happy with his stellar achievements inside the Bellator cage. Losing the belt appears to have only sharpened the Brazilian’s focus, and he was steely-eyed and determined when he faced off with McKee at the presser.
And Pitbull said that he’s tweaked his training ahead of the rematch, and will enter the cage with a more cerebral gameplan in his bid to recapture the title.
“Yes (I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished). But I want more!” he said.
“I’ve been in this game since 2004. When I lost the belt (to McKee) the first day I got to Brazil I started training again.
“Of course, I wasn’t training like a madman. I’m 34 years old. That last strategy was thrown out the window and I’m training for a new strategy. I’ve trained to be a lot smarter in this fight.”