Former UFC double champion Henry Cejudo accredits his success inside the cage to Bellator double champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire. After watching 'Pitbull' go up against Benson Henderson at Bellator 160, Henry Cejudo brought key changes to his own game that proved to be pivotal in his MMA career.
Henry Cejudo was in awe of the fighting stance adopted by Patricio Freire against the former UFC champion. The Brazilian was prancing on a Karate stance that seemed effective against Henderson, who had a much bigger frame than "Pitbull".
Impressed by Freire's approach, Henry Cejudo flew down to the Bellator champion's gym in Brazil and began his training under Mano Santana's (Freire's Karate coach) tutelage. The bladed stance eventually worked wonders for the former Olympic gold medalist as he went on to secure two titles simultaneously in the UFC.
"I stole his stance," Cejudo told ESPN. "I stole his distance. ... I owe a lot of my success to Patricio Pitbull."
Patricio "Pitbull" Freire currently holds the featherweight and lightweight championships in Bellator. The double champion recently defeated Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 255 to retain his 145-lbs championship.
Freire has 20 wins to his name in Bellator and is on a seven-fight winning streak presently.
'He is going to fight again' - Patricio Pitbull on Henry Cejudo's return to MMA
Henry Cejudo announced his retirement at UFC 249 last year. However, the former double champ continues to trade barbs with multiple fighters on social media. According to teammate Patricio Freire, it appears that 'Triple C' might return to the cage.
In an interview with The Schmo, Patricio Freire hinted at Henry Cejudo making a comeback to MMA:
"I just talked to him and I know he wants to fight again but not now. He needs a little bit of rest and enjoy [with] the family but I know he is going to fight again."
Adding to Patricio Freire's influence on Henry Cejudo, coach Eric Albarracin stated that "Pitbull's" zeal to continue fighting for five more years has motivated Cejudo to return to the Octagon. Team Cejudo is targeting UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski next:
"On a serious note, Patricio Pitbull has been a huge influence on Henry. Henry changed his stance and changed how he fights once I brought him to the Pitbull brothers in Brazil. So, bringing him here to Fight ready now, I can see the influence immediately with Henry Cejudo. All of a sudden he started talking about, 'When the fans come back, I think I'm going to come back.' When Patricio Pitbull said I have got five more years left in me, Henry was like, 'You do?' Then the mind started thinking and rolling... we're coming after City Kickboxing."