James Gallagher - Credit: Bellator MMA - Lucas Noonan

James Gallagher - Credit: Bellator MMA - Lucas Noonan

James Gallagher announces his return with a victory, refuses to be held down by life moving forward

Away from competition for two years, Ireland’s James Gallagher returned at Bellator 298 and set out a mission to win and did just that. Securing a split decision victory over James Gonzalez in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Gallagher acknowledged that he was there to win and make his presence known, but admittedly wasn’t thrilled with his performance.

Speaking to the media after his fight, Gallagher admitted it wasn’t his best performance and there were certainly things to work on moving forward, but he was there to get the victory and despite it not being a flawless performance, he’s back in a big way. More than just returning to action after two years gone, more than just getting a victory over Gonzalez, Bellator 298 was about James Gallagher putting it all together, putting it on display, and no longer being held down by life.

Coming into fight week, James Gallagher continuously spoke about how he wanted to use his return fight to showcase all of his hard work and after fighting to a split-decision victory, it still wasn’t enough for “The Strabanimal” and what he’s planning to do moving forward.

“I did what I had to do. It wasn’t my best, I didn’t show what I’m capable of, I didn’t show my best, I didn’t show what I’m able to do in there. I was very calm and I was very aware, and I’m very very proud of how calm and aware I was but too f***ing calm and not enough fight. I didn’t even touch him on the ground. If you watch my previous fights, I get position, I unload, I put elbows on their f***ing skulls, I break their face. I didn’t do that at all, I just stayed safe, I stayed aware, stayed calm, stayed focused and overcame all those puzzles, all those hurdles, and I won.”

Following the announcement of his victory over James Gonzalez, Gallagher spoke to John McCarthy for his post-fight interview in the cage and continued to shout how the outside world tried to hold him down. Whether it be his flamboyant personality, unbreakable confidence inside the cage, or just the way he carries himself, Gallagher refuses to let anyone step in his way or let life hold him down moving forward.

“Nobody. Not one person. They can’t. Who knows, knows. I know what’s what, other people know what’s what, and I’m just out here doing my thing and nobody is stopping me, not one person. I’m just happy and so, so thankful to Mike Kogan, all the boys here at Bellator, everyone. I’m just so grateful they give me these opportunities to get back and fight again. I’m just grateful to be back in the mix, how they treat me here, I’m very very thankful and very very lucky to be in this position. They’re giving me this position to shine. I feel like I’ve got a second chance.”

A second chance, it’s not something that everyone gets, especially not professional fighters, but for James Gallagher, he leans on advice from his good friend Conor McGregor, advice that could be given to every day people as well.

“Winners, win. And I swear to God, when you have that mentality, don’t get hid ever. Don’t get bitter, get better. That’s what my famous friend Conor McGregor always says, you can’t get bitter, get better. That’s what I roll by. You can’t dwell on anything, you can’t fall into that trap of that negative mindset, that negative pull, and you just have to keep rising and believing in yourself, growing, and no matter how hard things get, keep working. Pin the work. Show up every day.”

Although not thrilled with his performance, James Gallagher returned to not only the Bellator MMA cage, but the victory column as well at Bellator 298, and with a refreshed mindset, a healthy body, he refuses to let any opponent, doubter, or critic, hold him down.

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Mike Pendleton
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his "On The Mic" podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM's Fight Nation. With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike's work across his multiple outlets. Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310