Sports

Gallagher keeping focus on himself ahead of Bellator 196.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

STRABANE MMA fighter James Gallagher his not concerned about the other prospects in the 145-pound class as he gears up for his headline slot at Bellator 196 against Adam Borics on April 6 in Budapest.

Alongside the 21-year old Gallagher, Bellator boast a wealth of young talent in the featherweight division, including Los Angeles' AJ McKee (10-0), Aaron Pico (2-1) and former Ohio University wrestler Tywan Claxton (2-0), all under the age of 25.

But the 'Strabanimal' is only focusing on his own career aspirations of winning a world title and boosting his earnings, despite other competitors attempting to call him out.

"It's stupid the way some of the others have acted about it," Gallagher told ESPN.


"It makes me cringe. McKee has said things like, 'Sign the contract, James.' I'm going, 'What contract? There is no contract.

"I'm above that. I'm here to fight for world titles and get proper money, a level they're not on. I don't know what Bellator's plans are for us, but I know what my plans are: win a world title and beat everyone in front of me."


Gallagher believes McKee, 22, "is a tough fight for anyone, but I would strangle him."


"I can say that A.J. is very well-rounded. But I have an edge everywhere."


Despite the hotly anticipated rise of the four fighters, Gallagher is keeping his focus firmly on himself ahead of his showdown with Hungarian Borics next month. After being forced to miss the tail end of 2017 and his first promotional main event in Belfast, Bellator 187, due to a knee injury, the Dublin-based fighter believes he's just two or three fights from a title shot.

"I want a first-round finish in April. I want a proper comeback here," Gallagher said. "I want jaws hitting the floor after this fight.

"I want a title shot in two or three fights. I can't see why not.

Especially if I get another two or three first-round finishes. I don't see how they couldn't give me a title shot. Give me someone ranked No. 2. I'll go up and beat them and earn my title shot."


Last month, he revealed he accepted the Borics fight before he even knew if he would be able to compete on the night.

There was a fear that the Straight Blast Gym fighter would only be medically cleared to train on the knee after injuries to his lateral collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament.

"I told Bellator, 'I want to fight, but I don't know if the doctors will clear me for it', so I asked them to put my name down for it and we would wait and see," Gallagher told MMA Fighting.

"Finally, I got the go ahead to compete from the doctors and then the contract was sent out to me the next day. I signed it and sent it back that night."

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