clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

James Gallagher believes first career loss is ‘best thing that’s ever happened to me’

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


James Gallagher believes that suffering a first-round loss to Ricky Bandejas—the first defeat of the Irish prospect’s career—has ultimately helped him to become a better fighter.

“The Strabanimal” will take on Steven Graham in the main event of Bellator 218 in Dublin, Ireland on Feb. 23 and explained how his first professional loss has ushered in a change of mindset ahead of his headline bow in the Irish capital.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s changed my mindset on the reasons why I want to [fight]. When I say it’s changed my mindset, it’s made me want to do it even more,” Gallagher told Eurobash.

“There’s nothing that’s going to stop me. I wake up every f*cking day and I work my bollocks off and I’ve never wanted it as much in my life. My reason why has changed. I can see the way people have fell off and I see that’s because of their reasons why they want to earn money through fighting, why they want to get big and why they want to win world titles.

“The reason why I want to become a world champion is so I can hand it all back to my family and my coach, so I can say ‘thanks’. I’ve put in the work and they’ve helped me to get here and everything is just about becoming a world champion. That’s my reason why: I want to sit down some day and hand my [parents] and my coach a world title. That’s all that it’s my head every day I wake up. I’m not here to get famous, I’m not here for any other reason. I just want a secure future for me and my family and those close to me, and to be a world champion.”

The SBG fighter claimed he put no special pressure on himself to remain unbeaten before the loss, but insisted that he always prioritizes his performance over the outcome of a bout.

“I was never scared of losing anyway,” he said. “Losing is not a thing [that bothers me]. It’s about the performance, that’s how it goes for me. I could go in there and win and I’d still be disappointed if my performance wasn’t good. I’ve gone in before and I’ve won but it hasn’t been to the best of my ability. For me, it’s about performing and showing my skills off. I want to go out there and not get touched—I’m looking for the perfect fight.”

He also admitted there are still some things he needs to familiarize himself with in terms of competing as bantamweight, as opposed to a featherweight.

“I’m going to do things a bit different this time with the weight cut and stuff…but it went great the last time too. No excuses, I went into that last fight feeling great, don’t get me wrong I don’t want it to sound like I went in there feeling bad or anything. There are no excuses I went in there and got beat, but I do have to get used to it and I do have to take different things into account,” stated Gallagher.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to become a world champion. I’m going to do whatever it takes and if they put a fight in my way I’m going to take it, jump on it and then work my bollocks off to get [the world title]. I’m just focused on fighting, I want to fight every couple of months.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The James Gallagher interview begins at 51:50.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting