TALENTED lightweight, James Gallagher was left ‘gutted’ after injury ended his IMMAF World Amateur Championship hopes on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
However, the unfortunate and untimely hand injury won’t derail his plans on turning professional as he targets a return to the cage at the BMMA 22 event at the 3 Arena in Dublin on September 19th.
Gallagher had high hopes of being crowned world lightweight champion at the IMMAF Mixed Martial Arts Championships which conclude this weekend and he had made a blistering start to the tournament with a third round stoppage of the American champion, Sam Agushi last Monday.
‘The Strabanimal’ forced a submission from the American, 1.45 seconds into the third round with a ‘rear naked choke’.
The 18 year-old Jiu Jitsu specialist was highly fancied to make it through to the quarter-finals but was forced to withdraw from the tournament on the advice of the medical staff and his coach, John Kavanagh, ahead of his second round match against Italian, Davide La Torre.
Gallagher sustained a suspected sprained thumb and elbow and his tournament came to an abrupt end.
He has refused to mope about despite that disappointment and is looking forward to watching his Straight Blast Gym International teammate, Conor McGregor fight Chad Mendes at UFC 189 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena tomorrow night.
He’s enjoyed a dream month training at the lavish Mac Mansion - the Nevada training base of McGregor - and during his time there he met up with ‘Terminator Genisys’ star and ex-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So it’s been a memorable experience and he’ll enjoy the rest of his time in Vegas before returning to prepare for his pro. debut in Dublin in September when he’ll take on N. Ireland’s Gerard Gilmore (1-0) (Chum Sut) at featherweight.
And he believes his short experience at the world championships will provide him with the perfect platform for his imminent transition to the professional ranks.
“I have a possible sprained thumb and elbow still waiting to get an X-ray,” Gallagher confirmed to the ‘Journal’.
“I have never been so gutted. I ran through the best guy in the division without getting hit.
“I would of put everyone else away in the first with or without my arm but my coach pulled me and he knows best,” he said defiantly.
“The medics and my coach would not let me continue. As much as I wanted to fight on, I listen to the boss man. I’ve never been so gutted!
I would of put everyone else away in the first with or without my arm but my coach pulled me and he knows best.James Gallagher
“But I’m so grateful for this experience.
“Conor (McGregor) is paving the way for all of us guys over here. It’s still surreal, being in this giant mansion helping him prepare for one of the most anticipated MMA fights off all time. After being over here, every single one of us is going to move to a new level.
“I’m going pro. on September 19th in Bamma in Dublin. And I want UFC gold - that’s my ultimate goal! I want to become the best in the world and earn loads of cash doing it!
He’s excited about being Cageside watching McGregor fight Mendes tomorrow night.
“It’ll be great watching my teammate lift the strap. I won my fight with ease, I never got hit, so now it’ll be nice to see my teammates’ dreams come true,” he concluded.