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James Gallagher: UFC was interested in signing me after Ricky Bandejas loss

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James Gallagher
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

James Gallagher said the UFC showed interest in signing him after his sole professional loss to Ricky Bandejas, a time he recalls as “rock bottom” for his fighting career.

Now one of Bellator’s biggest draws and a marquee name in Dublin, “The Strabanimal” remembers the UFC’s interest in his signature.

“They came in after the Ricky fight and were like, ‘We’re going to make you a big star,’” Gallagher told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “I just got a voice note sent to me by my management; it was from the matchmaker for the UFC. He sent it over and it was a big 15-minute voice note. It was kind of like, ‘We want to do this,’ and, ‘We can see the potential,’ and they’re going to do this and they were going to do that.”

After Gallagher bounced back into the win column, Bellator put a contract on the table that was too good for the SBG fighter to turn down.

“Then, the contract Bellator offered me after the Steven Graham fight, it was the main event in Dublin, after that I was sorted. Well, I wasn’t sorted, but there wasn’t any other way that I was going. The contract wasn’t even up and they put this on the table, like, ‘Do you want that?’ and I was like, ‘F*cking right I do.’ No one was offering any better than that and I don’t think anyone will for a while.”

Gallagher believes he made the right decision by sticking with Bellator.

“F*ckin’ right I am,” he said. “It’s a times like this that you’ve got to be smart with your career. People probably would’ve jumped at that coming off a loss. Doubting themselves, not believing themselves and then UFC [comes in], just because it’s a big name, they’d jump on it.

“I was at rock bottom there, but I still had that vision in my head. I know what was what. I knew what I was capable of, and I knew where I was able to go, I knew I had star power. That’s what you have to keep always in your head. See your vision and don’t get complacent. When you’re feeling good, but also don’t get complacent when you’re feeling down. Don’t doubt yourself in bad times and just see it for how it is. I feel I’ve been very good at that.”

“I haven’t fought since September, and I’m still able to do all of this sh*t. I’m still content and I’m still happy and I’m still getting on with it and being looked after. I’m all good. I’ve got no stress or worries apart from getting my body in shape and getting ready to go again.”

Check out James Gallagher’s interview on the latest episode of Eurobash. It begins at 18:30.