Gabriel Braga has bold plans for his 2024 season in the Professional Fighters League.
The undefeated Brazilian prospect is set to rematch Jesus Pinedo on the 2023 PFL featherweight finals on Friday, and while he obviously loves the fact that there’s $1 million on the line, he’s also looking forward to possibly facing Bellator king Patricio Pitbull.
“Patricio is my idol,” Braga said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I’ve watched him train since I was a kid, and he’s trained a lot with my father. F***, it would be really cool to be on the same organization as him, no doubt. He watched me [train] when I was just a little kid [laughs].”
Pitbull told Trocação Franca recently that he hopes Braga wins the 145-pound finals on Friday to set up a PFL vs. Bellator showdown in 2024, which is now possible after PFL acquired the rival company.
“I’ve known Gabriel since he was a kid, he’s the son of a great friend of mine, but we’re professionals,” Pitbull said. “If I have to fight a Brazilian, we’ll put on a fight that will go down in history. I think Diego told me once that [Gabriel] is my fan. I’ve seen him hitting pads as a kid in the gym and he was tough already, so I’m sure it would be a great battle. I welcome the opportunity and hope he wins and becomes PFL champion.”
“I’ve never thought of this possibility,” Braga added about his former teammate. “But this is our job, right? If he’s there, it’s work. And if we have to fight, what better way to do it than putting on a freaking spectacle? And it’s even better when there’s good [money] on the line for both.”
Braga improved to 12-0 as a professional MMA fighter with wins over Pinedo, Marlon Moraes and Chris Wade in 2023, and he celebrates the thought of having Bellator featherweights join the PFL roster for the 2024 season.
“The featherweight and lightweight divisions in Bellator and PFL are the best,” Braga said. “Personally, I think they are the toughest ones.”
Braga will become a millionaire at age 25 if he beats Pinedo in Washington, D.C., and he has a unique mindset on life as a prizefighter. While others athletes prefer to focus on competing in the cage before making plans for the prize, he’s already looking forward to cashing a second check.
“I’ll have to invest the first million,” Braga said. “I can’t spend like crazy, but there are some things I have in mind to buy. At least a house, a better car, and to travel around. I deserve that after this year, right? I’ll get some rest with the family. It’s going to be wonderful. The second million I get to spend on something more different, right?”