James Gallagher Sends a Message to Bellator’s Bantamweights: ‘They’re All F—-‘

James Gallagher has anxiously been awaiting his chance to return to action and on Friday night he plans to send the Bellator bantamweight division a not so subtle message that he's back

James Gallagher is the first to admit the last year of his career has been the hardest.

After making a huge splash as an addition to the Bellator bantamweight division with four straight wins, Gallagher has spent the last 13 months on the sideline nursing various injuries.

The time off stalled his meteoric rise and tested Gallagher more than any fight he’s had inside the cage. While it certainly felt like he was being gut punched over and over again, Gallagher refused to stay down and the tumultuous situation actually made him a stronger fighter in the end.

“I can’t even put it into words how frustrating it was,” Gallagher said ahead of his return at Bellator 204 on Friday night. “I was at the lowest of the lows. I’ve never been lower in my life. I’m not going to sit here and say this bulls–t that I breezed through it and I can face anything. I was at the lowest of the lows.

“The main important part that I took away from it is that I came up from the lowest of the lows. I fought through it. I had that mindset that I knew I was at the lowest point of my life. I know that it’s not nice. I know that I don’t like being here but I had that right picture in my head that I knew I would climb through it and climb way to the top of it. Climb my way to the brightness at the end of the tunnel and that’s what I did. I climbed through that. I overcame all the adversity. Now we’re here and I’m back.”

During his time off, Gallagher heard all sorts of potential opponents bad mouthing him or reveling in his suffering.

Rather than allowing their words to fuel his rage, the 21-year old Irishman instead used everything that was being said about him as motivation to work that much harder on his comeback.

Gallagher didn’t want the anger to fester inside of him because he knew that would be counterproductive to the work he was doing to get back into the cage as soon as possible.

The end result was a happier and healthier fighter who is now ready to get even with everybody who tried to write him off in this past year.

“When I was out, everyone wrote me off. They all talked s–t about me. They all wrote me off,” Gallagher said. “I was at the lowest point of my life at that moment and they just tried to kick me while I was down. I laughed at it and I took inspiration from it. That’s exactly what I did. I seen the mindset and I said I would never do that to someone. That’s a loser’s mindset to me. I took inspiration from my opposition’s wins. I seen the joy and I see the success they were having but I didn’t hate on them the way they hated on me. I took inspiration from it, climbed back from all the injuries, got healthy and now I’m back.

“Thanks to my future opponents for the inspiration. While they were writing me off, they were calling me this, they were saying that about me, I just want to thank them all for all their inspiration to get me back. Now I climbed my way back to the top and they’re all f–ked. Every single one of them.”

Gallagher sees his fight on Friday against Ricky Bandejas as the first step back towards his ultimate goal of title contention later this year.

His performance isn’t a message to the doubters but rather a sign of things to come now that he’s returned.

“I’ve climbed all the way back up. Now they’re all f–ked. Every single one of them are f–ked,” Gallagher said. “When I get back in there and show how good I am and put on the performance of my life, because I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m prepared and I’m ready to go, everyone will soon shut up.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.