Since then, Freire has been on a mission to get another shot at the title and in the process has not only won four straight fights, but has finished three of his opponents.
“I’ve trained hard for these fights,” Freire told MMAWeekly.com through an interpreter. “I’ve been in good shape because I put in the hard work and that’s just the result of all the hard work these past couple years.”
Even though Freire has looked impressive in defeating some of the best 145-pound fighters in MMA, he feels he has not quite hit his peak yet.
“I feel like I haven’t exactly shown everything that I’ve got in my fights in Bellator,” he said. “I’m never satisfied with my performances 100-percent. I feel I can always do better with every fight.”
By taking the Season 9 Bellator featherweight tournament title, Freire (21-2) has earned his rematch with Curran (20-5) Friday night at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Freire admits that while at times things have been contemptuous between he and Curran, come Friday night he will have his mind clear of that and will be firmly focused on the task at hand.
“Initially we were arguing a lot over Twitter and all these things were being said, but I’m going in there without emotions and with a clear mind,” said Freire.
When it comes to the rematch, Freire admits he’s been training much as he always has, but has altered his game plan heading into the fight.
“I feel like in the last fight that, even though it was a split decision, I won that fight,” he said. “I’ve been training the same, but just have a different strategy.
“As Pat has been saying, we basically had a boxing match the first time. I feel like this time around we can use all aspects of MMA.”
Having worked his way back to a rematch with Curran, Freire’s goal is simple: become the new top dog in the 145-pound weight class by defeating the old top dog.
“I want to thank my team and my fans,” said Freire. “I want to let them know I’m going to put up a great fight against a guy who may be the No. 1 featherweight in the world right now, but I’m going to prove that he can be No. 2.”