(Photo: Jim Edwards)

James Gallagher: ‘The Defeat Didn’t Set Me Back At All, It Put Me Into The Stratosphere’

James Gallagher says he learned a lot from the first loss of his professional career this year and that he will come back stronger.

If you thought James Gallagher was going to be negatively affected by his loss to Ricky Bandejas earlier this year, you better think again.

The SBG Ireland man suffered the first defeat of his professional career at Bellator 204 in August when he faced Bandejas in Sioux Falls. Gallagher quickly asked for a rematch after the fight but last week it was revealed that he would instead face Steven Graham in the main event of Bellator 218 in Dublin, Ireland next February.

Speaking exclusively to MMANytt this weekend, Gallagher explained that he asked for a rematch, but Bandejas didn’t accept the fight.

“I wanted the rematch and I called for it straightaway,” Gallagher said. “I asked for the rematch straight out because I’ve got nothing to lose. Why the f*** wouldn’t I fight him again? I want that and he’s the one with something to lose. He didn’t accept though and I’ve seen that he’s turned down fights the other day with some other guy for a title contender shot.

“But that’s that, he doesn’t seem to want to be anything to do with the top tier of the division. Not when you’re turning down fights like that.”

Despite admitting the loss was tough to take in the immediate aftermath, Gallagher went on to explain that it didn’t take him long to bounce back. The 22-year-old even went as far as saying that he thinks the defeat made him an even bigger star.

“It didn’t set me back at all, it put me into the stratosphere and took me forward,” Gallagher said. “It took me back for a few days and I was drowning my sorrows and sobbing on the floor for a few hours like it was the most devastating thing ever, but when I sit and look back at it, I think it’s just put me into the stratosphere and it’s taught me a lot.

“I will die trying to become a world champion and not many people can honestly say that. That’s just me though and a loss isn’t going to stop me. I was bruised not broken.”

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