James Gallagher is adamant that he will fight for the Bellator bantamweight title once he has his hand raised on Saturday night in South Dakota. And if Darrion Caldwell won’t defend his title against the SBG fighter, he will be stripped of his championship, according to “The Strabanimal”.
The Irishman has been getting acclimatized to conditions in the U.S. ahead of his professional debut at 135 pounds where he’s set to face off with former CFFC champ Ricky Bandejas.
Gallagher is good spirits. He says he’s been “eating like a horse,” but can still see the weight falling off him. He’s expecting a solid pace from Bandejas at Bellator 204, but he thinks that will play right into his hands when the eventually clash.
“He’s gonna come out with a hard pressure and I think he’s going to pick his own poison,” Gallagher told MMA Fighting. “I’m coming out free, dealing with what’s in front of me. He’s going to realize very quickly that he’s dealing with a man that’s prepared for all scenarios. They don’t prepare like this and I’m glad they don’t because it makes for some easy fights.”
Bantamweight champion, Caldwell, has been sending out mixed signals with regard to Gallagher’s arrival in the bracket.
Last week, Bellator tweeted a video of the champion listing the positive aspects of having the Irishman in his bracket. Caldwell thinks Gallagher will stir up a lot of interest before inevitably losing a title fight, which will in turn lead to more fans for him. However, when speaking to MMA Fighting ahead of his featherweight tussle with Noad Lahat on the same night Gallagher debuts as a bantamweight, “The Wolf” insisted that he has eyes set on Patricio Freire and the featherweight belt.
As far as Gallagher is concerned, Bellator forced Caldwell to describe him as a welcome addition to the bracket.
“That’s a broken, scared, little man. The words he’s using and the way he’s using them…I think he’s scared. I know he doesn’t want it. He was coached to say all of those nice things about me in the video that Bellator put out, but he told you his true feelings,” Gallagher said.
“He doesn’t want anything to do with me. If he doesn’t come back and defend the belt, he’s gone. I only came down to fight for a title and if he’s off doing something else, I’m going to be the new king at bantamweight. He’s in a situation where he needs to defend the belt or vacate it. My next fight will be for the bantamweight title, whether he will be there to defend it or not is up to him.”
Caldwell insisted that the reason he would not give Gallagher a title shot is because the Irishman turned down an offer to fight for the belt at Bellator 204. Gallagher thinks the best way to guarantee that the bantamweight title gets attention is for him to clash with Caldwell on Irish soil.
“He’s saying he wants 50,000 Irish fans to tell him that they want him to fight in Ireland, that’s what he needs to make the title fight happen. The funny thing is, he doesn’t even have 50,000 American fans. He’s so boring to watch, nobody knows who this guy is. Bellator asked me to come down to his division and sort things out because this boring b*stard holds the belt. He’s holding everything up at 135 pounds; nobody wants to watch it,” explained Gallagher.
“Look at the featherweight division — nobody was talking about that before I was there either. I’ve stirred things up, now I’m bouncing down to bantamweight while all the 145ers mingle. I gave them all something to talk about and something to work towards. I plan to do exactly the same at bantamweight, but I’m going to win the title, defend it, then bounce back up and finished what I started.”
Gallagher believes the reason Caldwell is focusing all of his attention on the featherweight division is because he is afraid to defend his title in Ireland.
“He’s scared of the fall. He knows that the pressure is off if he fights ‘Pitbull’ next. He knows if he comes over here and fights there will be 50,000 Irish fans hoping that he gets his head caved in and see me win,” he said.
“He wants to be off the radar and fight in a low-key fight, that’s why he wants ‘Pitbull’. He can’t handle the same kind of pressure that I eat every day for breakfast. If there were 50,000 American fans waiting for me to get my head taken off, I would happily stand in front of every one of them, take his belt and then laugh at them all.”