In his two wins in 2017, first over Derek Anderson at Bellator 170 in January and then against Brandon Girtz in July at Bellator 181, veteran lightweight Derek Campos feels he had about as good of performances as he could have.
“I had an all-out war with Girtz,” Campos told MMAWeekly.com. “And Anderson came in a bit overweight, but I told him to not worry about cutting weight, that way he would be physically healthy when we fought and he could bring his best, and still I was able to beat him.
“Overall I feel great about those performances. There are areas I can fix and get better at, and that’s what I’ve been working on, and that’s what’s gotten me to this point.”
Originally Campos was to face Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in July, but for the third time in a row, their scheduled bout was called off. It’s a pattern Campos hopes to break with their upcoming bout slated for this month.
“It was frustrating, but it’s just one of those things that are out of your control,” said Campos. “As fighters if an opponent gets hurt or pulls out, you move forward, you move on. We’re finally meeting up again, and this time around it felt right.
“Honestly I felt like I should have been given a title shot considering I had the longest winning streak in the division, but nonetheless, I’m a fighter and when they offered me Pitbull I looked at it like an opportunity to get back a loss.”
When Campos (19-6) and Freire (18-8) finally meet in the cage at Bellator 194 on Friday in Uncasville, Conn., in a much anticipated rematch of their 2014 bout, there are multiple ways the fight could play out due to how each competitor has grown since their initial meeting.
“I believe that both of us as fighters have matured and have grown a little more patient, more technical and implement our strategy (better),” Campos said. “But at the same time we know how to bite down on our mouthpiece and brawl.
“This could go either way. It could be a technical fight or it could be a brawl, or a mix of both. I just know I’m ready to do either. I’m going to go in there, impose my will, and not stop until I break (Freire).”
For Campos, his fight with Freire is a chance for him to gain an amount of revenge before he sets his sights on the title shot he’s lobbied for the past year.
“I know how it felt how to avenge my loss to Girtz, and I want that feeling again,” said Campos. “I want to avenge another loss in my career. With him, I’m taking this fight to that measure. It is something that I want personally – to avenge a loss – and to keep moving forward to that title.”