This past week at Bellator 252, Patricio Pitbull Freire (31-4) knocked out Pedro Carvalho to defend his featherweight crown. After the fight was over, Pitbull and Scott Coker both claimed that Pitbull was the best featherweight in the world.
Of course these comments were met with some criticism. Including from current UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). Volkanovski just rolled his eyes in a Tweet after hearing the comments from the Bellator champion.
There has been a lot of debate in the MMA community about the UFC’s champions and Bellator‘s champions. Now, most if not all of the time, people are going to say that the UFC has the best champion.
The arguments are completely justified considering the talent pool in the UFC compared to Bellator. There is no questioning the fact that it’s tougher to get to the UFC crown versus getting to the Bellator crown.
However, Patricio Pitbull definitely belongs in the conversation as one of the best in the world. He’s currently ranked fourth in the world according to ESPN’s MMA divisional rankings. So the question is, how would Pitbull do in the UFC?
UFC vs Bellator
Conventional wisdom would give Volkanovski a huge advantage over Pitbull considering the competition level. Pitbull has had some tough fights in Bellator, but those have mainly come at lightweight versus featherweight.
It should also be known that Pitbull has been defeated at featherweight in Bellator (Daniel Straus). Volkanovski has never lost in the UFC’s featherweight division. If Pitbull was to go over to the UFC, how would he do?
The crazy thing is, I think Pitbull has a better chance against Volkanovski than he does against other top UFC contenders. Pitbull has a ton of power and is basically the same size as Alexander Volkanovski.
We’ve seen the UFC champion hurt at times, particularly in his last fight with Max Holloway. Neither man is unbeatable, and I think Pitbull would have a good chance at beating Volkanovski. Not saying he would, but he’d have a shot.
However, given his style, I think Pitbull would struggle with other guys in the division. I think Max Holloway and Brian Ortega are bad matchups for Pitbull. Frankly, I think Brian Ortega is a bad matchup for anyone in the world right now at featherweight.
At the end of the day, Pitbull belongs in the conversation with the best in the UFC. However, he is not the best featherweight in the world. Unfortunately for him, he cannot lay claim to that title while fighting in Bellator.
The competition level just isn’t there. There is one clear best featherweight in the world right now, and that is Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski. That is my opinion, but there is an argument for both sides.