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Patricio Pitbull: Cross Promotion Is Mma’S Next Step, But Dana White ‘Afraid’ To See Champions Lose

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Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung will battle for the UFC featherweight championship this Saturday at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Fla., but should the winner be called the unequivocal best 145-pound fighter on the planet?

Volkanovski’s run in the sport is undeniably strong, with a 23-1 record and wins over big-name featherweights such as Jose Aldo, Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, and Chad Mendes.

But Patricio Pitbull — the No. 6 featherweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings and one of the greatest competitors to ever enter the Bellator cage.

“I wish the UFC would join as well, because we know there’s [that debate], who’s the best one, the UFC or the Bellator [champion]? It doesn’t matter who I think wins, what really matters is who actually wins. So, to be sure, we have to put the champions [in a position] to fight each other. To me, that’s the next step we have to take in MMA.”

The last time the UFC agreed to lend a star to another MMA promotion to compete was in 2003, when future light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell joined the Pride FC grand prix in Japan. “The Iceman” stopped Alistair Overeem but then lost to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson three months later and was eliminated from Pride FC’s tournament field. Liddell ultimately returned to the UFC and eventually won that promotion’s belt.

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A former two-division champion in Bellator, Pitbull would love to test himself against a champion from another promotion in the future, but he needs to avenge his defeat to McKee first. Driven by challenges, the Brazilian doesn’t rule out competing in a different weight class again — this time at bantamweight, if offered an interesting opponent.

“My [weight class] is 145, really. If there’s a great challenge at 155 or 135, we’ll do it. But until then, my division remains the same. My focus is on A.J. McKee and bringing that belt back.”

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