James Gallagher: “There’s only one kid in Bellator and he’s going to choke that motherf-ker out”

James Gallagher is a fighter on the rise.

He grew up in the master shadow of teammate Conor McGregor but has already begun to prove himself as a unique brand in his own right.

On the biggest stage of his career, he lived up to the hype with a comfortable first-round submission of Chinzo Machida.

Following that victory at Bellator 180 in Madison Square Garden, the American promotion announced Gallagher as their main event for Bellator 186 on November 10th in Dublin.

“Who else has done what I have done? What other 20-year-old can walk out in Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people and not crumble?” Gallagher (7-0) told Fightstore Media at BattlezoneFC 17.

“There was other 20-year-olds on the card that night and they crumbled but I didn’t. I rose above them all.

“All the veterans where in the dressing room and you could see them all looking around. You could just feel the nerves. I was calm, I wanted to be there.”

There is something unique about Gallagher. He is not content with simply fighting on Bellator. He is constantly looking ahead, setting himself new targets to reach.

He plans on breaking the PPV record but first he intends on becoming the first fighter to submit his opponent Jeremiah “The Kid” Labiano (11-5).

“I just don’t feel that he’s on my level. He hasn’t been submitted before and as soon as I seen that I was like, “I’m going to submit him.”

“I’m going to go in and submit him! It’s not a case of if or when…I am going to go in and submit him. November 10th it’s happening!

“He’s 30 and he calls himself a kid so that just says it all. There’s only one kid in Bellator and he’s going to choke that motherf-ker out,”

California’s Labiano has back-to-back wins since a bad spell that saw him lose three times in four fights. His last four victories have come via decision although he holds a black belt in BJJ.

“He has been knocked out before and I’m not cutting that out. He’s never been submitted…I’ve never knocked someone out yet so maybe he’s the one. He can take his pick, he’ll get what he wants.

“I’m not going to say he’s tough because I feel like I’m just going to go in and run through him. I’ll do that through the work I put in, in the gym. I’m going to turn into a machine over the next twelve weeks.”

Gallagher also opened-up about his confidence explaining that he never feels ‘pressured by other people’ or ‘intimidated’ by the big arenas.

“I never get worked up or get that adrenaline rush. I’m happiest when I’m fighting. I feel my best in the lead up to a fight.”

“The Strabanimal” had spoken previously about dropping down in weight to fight as a bantamweight but that decision was reversed after a conversation with SBG head coach, John Kavanagh.

“He texted me and said that he thinks I should stay at featherweight. I’ve never once been outpowered and no one has ever done well against me using their physicality. If anyone has done well it’s been technical.

“He told me that it’s not an issue…he wants me to focus on getting better rather than cutting weight. Instead of cutting weight for the next ten weeks I can eat what I want.

“When I’m training with people who are welterweights, strength has never been an issue. I always feel that I’m stronger than everyone if anything.”

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Exclusive InterviewMMA
Alastair Magee

Recent Journalism graduate with a passion for covering martial arts. Giving amateur and professional fighters in Ireland the coverage they deserve.

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