Heading into his Bellator debut this past June, lightweight Zach Freeman was seemingly overlooked for his opponent in the bout, Aaron Pico.
Pico, who was making his MMA debut after a successful amateur wrestling career, was looked at making the first step towards a successful run in his new sport, when Freeman spoiled this plans by picking up a first round submission win.
“I don’t think it could have gone any better,” Freeman told MMAWeekly.com. “Looking back at the fighting and watching it, I kind of did all three possibilities in the fight: I feel like I knocked him out, I tapped him out, as well as choked him out.
“I don’t think it could have gone any better or been any more of a stamp on there being no controversy; in this case there’s no arguing whether he lost or not.”
While Freeman would have liked a little more coverage heading into the bout with Pico, he understands the business of marketing the sport, and feels his win will more than make up for his lack of attention before.
“I think up to the fight, it was expected that Aaron got the kind of attention he got, but I worked hard too,” said Freeman. “I think what clicked after I won is that the media was going to be all over me, but where were they two days ago?
“I don’t hold a grudge. I understand that it’s a machine that only works a certain way, so in order to get talked about you have to go out and win, and do it in exciting fashion. I did that and it’s paid off.”
TRENDING > UFC Unveils First Two Pay-Per-Views of 2018
Freeman (9-2) will look for his second Bellator win when he faces off against veteran Saad Awad (20-9) in a main card 155-pound bout on Friday in University Park, Penn.
“Saad is an extremely durable, veteran fighter. He’s well-conditioned, he fights all 15 minutes, pushes the pace, and hits hard,” Freeman said. “I think this is them giving me an opportunity to cement myself as someone who’s to be taken seriously in Bellator.”
Should Freeman pick up the win on November 3, he sees himself carrying his momentum towards making a run at a title starting in 2018.
“I think right now my plan in the next year is to put myself into title contention,” said Freeman. “If you’re not in a high organization like this to win and go for a title, you need to reconsider why you’re fighting.
“I’m not fighting for money. I’m not fighting for fame. I’m fighting for personal fulfillment. I want to be able to hang my hat one day and say I did it all and to the best of my ability. That is what will be fulfilling for me.”