Mickey Gall is ready to take big steps forward in 2020.
After defeating Salim Touahri in August at UFC Newark, the 28-year-old New Jersey native was set to fight Carlos Condit in December. A couple of weeks before the fight, Condit was forced off the Washington, DC card due to an injury with no replacement sought.
As much as he wanted that fight, Gall has moved on from losing an opportunity to fight a longtime veteran and former champion.
“Yeah, it sucked,” Gall told MMA Fighting on the What the Heck show. “But it’s all good. I’ve got bigger plans than that. It was just a stepping stone along the way.
“It would’ve been awesome, but I’m OK with it. It’s not going to make or break me so I’ve moved past it, but it sucks, man. It’s the worst, but it will probably happen again — I’ll lose an opponent. It’s a crazy sport that we do but I hope he’s doing well. He’s a true legend and a dude I’ve looked up to, and a lot of people from my generation have looked up to. It would’ve been an honor to get in there with him.”
Once it was revealed Condit was off of the card, many fighters — in and out of the UFC — wanted to step in and face Gall in the nation’s capital. Despite the noise being made, the promotion didn’t move forward with finding a replacement.
“I wanted to fight,” Gall said. “I wanted to fight and get paid. Maybe the UFC didn’t think [I should fight anyone else after losing the Condit fight] because they didn’t bring me any names. I’ve heard people say, ‘yeah, I tried to get that fight with him and he said no.’ But I didn’t say no. [The UFC] obviously didn’t think enough of these people to even offer them to me.
“At the last moment, we tried to make a ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira fight and that just kind of fell apart. That was they only name the UFC floated my way.”
The fight with Oliveira was announced for the Feb. 29 event in Norfolk, Va. and a little under two weeks later, the promotion announced it was off the card — which Gall doesn’t have any insight as to why with Oliveira fighting Max Griffin at UFC 248 a week later.
With having back-to-back fights cancelled, Gall is hoping to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible, but the coronavirus outbreak has left the world in a state of unknown.
When it comes to the UFC’s stance on moving forward with these events during a global pandemic, Gall is appreciative of the fact that White is trying to keep things moving.
“I totally get where Dana is coming from and I think he’s right,” Gall explained. “If we can test the fighters and put us in a cage, we don’t need an audience. But let’s put something on the TV and give people something to do.”
In an Instagram Live conversation with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, White blasted the media for criticizing the decision to make UFC 249 happen. In addition, the UFC president stated that every fighter on the roster will have multiple fights in 2020.
Gall revealed that he’s spoken with White and is under the impression that this could be a very loaded up year of fight cards once things get back to normal.
“I had spoken with Dana and I’m not too worried, especially based on what he’s saying,” Gall said. “He made it very clear that once this thing is over, the UFC is going to be on and popping. I have a feeling there will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday cards this summer because he’s very adamant about getting people three fights this year. I don’t know if that’s exactly how he’ll do that, but that’s what I’m thinking — almost having an International Fight Week several times, how they did those cards back-to-back-to-back.
“I do appreciate that, not just as a UFC fighter, but also as a fan. You know Dana’s breaking his balls trying to put this stuff on for everybody — not just for himself and his company, but trying to provide an outlet for everyone stuck at home right now.”
A long list of fighters have thrown their names in the proverbial hat to compete at UFC 249 should their services be needed. Gall is adding his name to the mix.
“I have not,” Gall said in regards to being approached to fight at UFC 249. “I have spoken with my manager Dave Martin and I told him we’re ready to hop in if something comes along. We’ll be ready.”
Since his professional debut in November 2015, Gall has made quite a name for himself for savvy callouts — including CM Punk following his first round submission win at Dead Serious 17, which was featured on Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight. After submitting Mike Jackson in his Octagon debut, Gall was able to accomplish the same feat against the former WWE champion seven months later.
Following his fourth straight submission win as a pro over Sage Northcutt — whom he called out after defeating Punk — Gall has gone 2-2 in his last four fights.
Now that he’s coming into his next fight with a win under his belt, as well as having consecutive fights cancelled, Gall doesn’t have a specific opponent to call out. Although there’s a fan-friendly welterweight on the roster that Gall believes he will share the cage with sooner rather than later, he is keeping his eyes set on his long-term goal in the sport.
“I don’t really have one because I don’t want to lock myself into something coming off of the Condit fight,” Gall said. “I don’t know if I could trust Condit to make it to the fight. I want someone who really wants to fight — not that he doesn’t. I’m just a little perplexed on that one.
“[Mike] Perry would be a good one. I’ve got a feeling that we’re going to be doing that one within the next year, maybe even sooner. But it’s whoever, man. I’m ready. I’m ready to make weight, a lot. I’m feeling great, I want to put on a show, get into that top-15 and into title contention over the next few years.
“It’s belt or bust. If I don’t end my career with a belt, that’s a bust for me. That’s what’s important.”