If James Gallagher’s next fight is the biggest of his career, he certainly isn’t showing any nerves ahead of it.
The undefeated SBG fighter (6-0, 5 submissions) will face Chinzo Machida at Bellator’s debut Madison Square Garden event on June 24th, where the 20-year-old Strabane native will share the card with mixed martial arts legends like Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva and Fedor Emelianenko but, as Gallagher said in an interview with WhoaTV.com, he sees his name being listed alongside MMA legends before too long.
“That’s where I want to be,” Gallagher said of his upcoming date inside the world’s most famous arena. “Michael Conlan just fought there, Conor fought there a few months before. It’s the most historic venue in the world.
“The greatest of all time have fought there; Mike Tyson, the lot. That’s the footsteps I want to live up to. I want to be able to say that MSG has a picture of me up there that says ‘James Gallagher once fought here'”.
In Chinzo Machida, a fighter twice the Irishman’s age, Gallagher faces a stern test. The Machida family are known for their outstanding karate techniques and an uninformed glance at Gallagher’s submission heavy resumé might suggest to some that their bout might follow the blueprint of the classic striker vs. grappler styles clash which has been one of the predominant narratives in mixed martial arts since its inception.
Not so, Gallagher says.
“He’s got the Karate style but everyone forgets that’s where I started,” the Irishman explained. “I started with a Shotokan Karate background.”
You can watch the interview in full, via WhoaTV, below: