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23rd Nov 2016

Bellator prospect James Gallagher praises stablemate Conor McGregor but insists he can do more

Aiming high

Darragh Murphy

James Gallagher doesn’t agree with those comparing him with his gym’s most famous representative.

“No! Because there isn’t any,” the 20-year-old firmly answered when asked if he felt that head coach John Kavanagh saw some of Conor McGregor in him.

Aside from sharing a weight division, a chest tattoo and a pride in Straight Blast Gym; Gallagher and McGregor are very different people.

But the unparalleled accomplishments of ‘The Notorious’ are a solid benchmark on which to base one’s career and the 20-year-old insists that he is setting out to not only match McGregor’s achievements in the sport but to eclipse them entirely.


“I can do better,” Gallagher said.

“I’m still only 20 years of age and I’ve seen how he did what he did so now I’m going to make it better and do more.”

The confidence of ‘The Strabanimal’ is not to say that he is unimpressed with what McGregor has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time in the Octagon.

The Dubliner is still deep in celebration mode after becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes simultaneously and Gallagher is simply in awe of what his superstar stablemate has managed to do.

“Conor has done what people once said was impossible,” Gallagher gushed.

james gallagher

“It’s the biggest thing ever in MMA and I don’t think I’ve got a word to describe it.

“Just to go out in that fashion and do what critics said couldn’t be done and do it by making it look like it was nothing. And then just to add to that, he rightfully says that he’s bouncing if he doesn’t get a share in the company. I’m just lost for words.

“He deserves it and he’s put in the work but you’re still going to have doubters and people talking shit about him.

“I don’t get that. How can you criticise perfection? That’s the closest thing I’ve seen to perfection anyway.”

We’ll get our next look at Gallagher next month, in the co-main event of Bellator 169 in the 3Arena, as the youngster will aim to add to his perfect professional record against American Anthony Taylor.

Gallagher made his Bellator debut in July and was taken to the judges for the first time as a pro, something that he’s still not altogether comfortable with.

“Snapping!” Gallagher said. “I was absolutely snapping.

“It was a weird kind of fight. I felt like it wasn’t me in there but, on the bright side, I was thinking then that I can beat all of these guys even on my off days.

“Think about what I’m going to do when I’m feeling good!

“I always go in looking for the finish and my opponent next month is irrelevant. I’m working on what I’m doing and I’m going to go in there and make myself look good. That’s just the way it is.

“I reckon I’m going to bust him up early on and choke him in the first.”

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