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Ricky Bandejas confident James Gallagher win leads to title shot: ‘This will be his first real fight’

Ricky Bandejas couldn’t be happier with his new Bellator deal and with his first fight assignment - inflammatory Irishman James Gallagher.

The former CFFC champion has been heralded as the most difficult challenge of Gallagher’s young career. “The Strabanimal” will compete at bantamweight for the first time when they face off at Bellator 204, and Bandejas insisted that he had no hesitation in accepting the fight when he first got wind of it.

“Bellator threw out a couple of ideas and once I heard his name I wanted to jump all over it,” Bandejas told MMA Fighting. “He’s got a lot of hype behind him and I’d really like to derail his train. I saw his record and it doesn’t really look like he’s fought anybody, so I was pretty surprised that he would take the fight.”

Given that bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell has moved to featherweight, and the lack of contenders at large in the bracket, Bandejas hopes the same title situation applies to him if he beats Gallagher.

“There would be no better way to start my career with them than taking out one of their high-potential guys. My goal is to get that world title. I saw that Darrion Caldwell has it, but I also see him fighting at 145, so I don’t really know what’s going on there, but I think a win over James Gallagher can slingshot me to the top,” he said.

“If this fight doesn’t put me in the spot to fight for the title, it should definitely lead me to a contender fight or something. I really think whoever wins the fight could be looking for a shot at the belt because there doesn’t seem to be too many other guys in that conversation. It seems like Darren Caldwell beat pretty much everyone in the division.”

Having balanced a full-time job with his fight career up until this point, Bandejas outlined how being a full-time fighter has changed his training regimen.

“It gives me a lot of motivation. It’s nice to be able to train five or six days a week, I used to only train two. I’ve added strength and conditioning to my camp for the first time and I just can’t wait for it all to pay off in my Bellator debut,” he explained.

“It totally different than the old camps. I’m getting a lot more time to recover so I’m not as sore during my workouts. I’ve already told you about adding strength and conditioning but I’m also working on my diet and making sure I’m eating the right stuff. Before, when I was training part-time, sometimes I would think to myself, ‘Have you done enough?’ but that’s all gone now.”

Citing Gallagher’s record, his new training regiment and his enthusiasm to impress his new bosses, Bandejas is confident he will give Gallagher his toughest test to date.

“I think it’s the toughest fight of his career. I’ve looked at his record, granted he hasn’t fought a lot of people, but the majority of the guys he has fought have losing records.

“This will be his first real fight. He’s already talking about title fights, so he’s overlooking me. If he’s doing that, he’s in for a rude awakening when we fight.”

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