EXCLUSIVE | Emmanuel Sanchez is ready to end the reign of Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
Emmanuel Sanchez has a chance to realize a dream more than 10 years in the making on November 15, when he takes on Patricio Freire for the featherweight title at Bellator 209 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Timing is everything. For Sanchez, the timing of his title fight with Patricio Freire couldn’t be any more advantageous. “El Matador” just received his BJJ black belt a few weeks ago. His hard work is starting to pay off.
“It was quite the surprise,” revealed Sanchez when asked about his newly acquired black belt. “I’m very hard on myself. I’m looking to be a jiu-jitsu champion and an MMA champion. BJ Penn, Jose Aldo, Demian Maia, [Rafael] Dos Anjos, the list goes on and on of all these guys that did it. I really want that for myself.”
Sanchez can still achieve his dream of becoming a dual-sport champion, however, he must first take care of business at Bellator 209 when he faces Freire for the featherweight strap.
“At first its like, damn, I have to fly and fight international, but it is what it is. Its all part of the business,” Sanchez explained. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Bellator is paying me to go to Israel and fight.”
“My team and my lovely significant other are coming along with me, it’s beautiful over there and its God’s holy land,” Sanchez continued. “I can’t wait to go out there and win the title in God’s holy land.”
Winning the featherweight title under those circumstances would sure seem like a storybook ending for Sanchez, but the reigning defending 145-pound champion would like to write his own ending that involves the words “and still.”
“I’ve been watching him [Patricio Freire] for a long time man,” Sanchez said when asked about the champion. “For me, there is no animosity, there is no need to trash talk. This guy is a legend. He is one of the guys who helped build Bellator and the featherweight division.”
Freire has definitely helped Bellator build the lighter weight classes and he has been in some of the most entertaining fights in the promotion’s history. But all good things come to an end, and it could very easily be Sanchez who carries on that certain level of greatness we have come to expect from the 145 pounders.
“Every day I walk into the gym and we have our banners put up,” he said. “I see Anthony [Pettis] and I see Tyron [Woodley] and Duke [Roufus] even told me a long time ago, he said, you’re next to be put on this banner. You’re the next champion [at Roufusport].”
Let us know what you think.
Will Emmanuel Sanchez beat Patricio Freire to become the new Bellator featherweight champion or will Pitbull continue his dominance?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/7/2018.
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