If Bellator star James Gallagher had it his way, he’d be looking to avenge his only career loss against Ricky Bandejas on Feb. 23 instead of fighting Steven Graham.
But according to the Bellator 218 headliner, Bandejas declined the rematch and instead took a fight against Juan Archuleta at Bellator 214. Gallagher explained the situation in an interview with Jim Edwards of MMANytt.
“I wanted the rematch and I called for it straightaway,” Gallagher explained. “I asked for the rematch straight out because I’ve got nothing to lose. Why the f*** wouldn’t I fight him again? I want that and he’s the one with something to lose. He didn’t accept though and I’ve seen that he’s turned down fights the other day with some other guy for a title contender shot. But that’s that, he doesn’t seem to want to be anything to do with the top tier of the division. Not when you’re turning down fights like that.”
James Gallagher (7-1) will look to avoid back-to-back losses on for the first time in his career when he faces Graham on Feb. 23. The SBG Ireland standout boasts wins over Kirill Medvedovski, Chinzo Machida and Team Body Shop product Anthony Taylor. The last time Gallagher fought in Ireland was at Bellator 173 in Belfast, but this will be his first trip back to Dublin since Dec. 2016 where he competed at Bellator 169.
While some fighters can take a loss like that to heart, Gallagher looks at the setback as a potential opportunity for him to become an even bigger star in MMA. He also seems to consider it a learning experience.
“It didn’t set me back at all, it put me into the stratosphere and took me forward,” Gallagher said. “It took me back for a few days and I was drowning my sorrows and sobbing on the floor for a few hours like it was the most devastating thing ever, but when I sit and look back at it, I think it’s just put me into the stratosphere and it’s taught me a lot. I will die trying to become a world champion and not many people can honestly say that. That’s just me though and a loss isn’t going to stop me. I was bruised not broken.”
Do you think James Gallagher deserved a rematch against Ricky Bandejas?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/19/2018.