“I want to be the champ at 145 (pounds),” Caldwell (12-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) told MMAjunkie. “I think it’s time for me to get two belts.
“I don’t see why ‘Pitbull’ is the champion. He’s not a champion. And after Aug. 17, I’m looking to fight ‘Pitbull.'”
Caldwell is just over one week away from his fight, a non-title featherweight bout against Noad Lahat(12-3 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) in the headliner of Bellator 204, which takes place Aug. 17 at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., and airs live on Paramount.Freire, meanwhile, expects his next title defense to come against top contender Emmanuel Sanchez after a decision over Daniel Weichel this past month.
Bellator hasn’t pushed for a superfight, Caldwell said, so he’s making the case himself to become a two-division champ.
“Who else is in line for that title fight? No one besides me,” he said. “I’m the champion at 135, and I’m going to be the champion at 145. I don’t think ‘Pitbull’ wants to fight anybody else but me, and after this fight, there’s nobody I want to fight but ‘Pitbull.'”In March, Caldwell said it was his goal to beat Leandro Higo before taking out Freire, followed by Freire’s older brother, lightweight Patricky Freire. Caldwell subsequently tapped Higo to defend his belt.Freire has welcomed the matchup, accusing Caldwell of fighting at bantamweight because he’s afraid they could fight at featherweight. The two have sparred on social media.Although Caldwell said he was impressed by bantamweight Michael McDonald’s recent stoppage of ex-champ Eduardo Dantas, and at one point welcomed a meeting (via Twitter), he said his division lacks available contenders.
“There’s no competition at 135 for me not right now,” Caldwell said. “Whether they don’t want to sign a contract, or are just not ready, there’s just nobody in line for me. And I’m only progressing.
“There’s starting to be some intensity (at bantamweight). I’m just going to go ahead and do what none of these 135-pounders want to do.”
First, Caldwell has to get by Lahat, a UFC vet who’s 3-1 in the Viacom-owned Bellator. The way he sees it, the bout is a prelude to the real main event.For more on Bellator 204, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.