Over the weekend, on the main card of Bellator 204, outspoken Bellator bantamweight prospect James Gallagher suffered his first defeat. The polarizing young Irishman was abruptly snuffed by former CFFC champ Ricky Bandejas.
Later that same night, Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell picked up a big TKO win in a featherweight showdown with streaking UFC veteran Noad Lahat.
After the card, Caldwell commented on Gallagher’s loss. Bellator had already been hinting at a future bantamweight championship showdown between Caldwell and Gallagher, so the champion’s take on Gallagher’s loss is particularly interesting.
Apparently, he wasn’t surprised, and hopes the loss serves to humble the cocky Gallagher.
“I wasn’t surprised [by Gallagher’s loss],” Caldwell told the media post-fight (via MMAjunkie). “It didn’t come as a shock to me. The kid still has room to grow. He’s an up-and-comer; let him do what he’s going to do. But you’ve got to stay humble. Hopefully that was a humbling experience for him to realize you’re really with some killers out here. We’re not playing.”
As for that potential fight with James Gallagher? Darrion Caldwell is currently focused on winning gold in the Bellator featherweight division. Now that Gallagher has lost, the fight is even less of a priority for the champ than it was before.
“My goal is to be a two-division champ,” Caldwell said. “So Gallagher can suck a [expletive], 135 can wait – that 145-pound strap is on my hit list.”
For what it’s worth, Gallagher seems to be taking the loss in stride. Post-fight, he assured his cocky attitude isn’t going anywhere, and that the best is yet to come.
Do you think we’ll ever see James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/20/2018.