Ricky Bandejas made a statement in his Bellator debut last August when he knocked out James Gallagher in highlight reel fashion. Now he looks to inch one step closer to a bantamweight title shot when he faces Juan Archuleta at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26. It’s a matchup Bandejas believes is a tougher fight than the current champion Darrion Caldwell.
“[Caldwell] is tough, but I think he’s a one dimensional fighter.” Banejas explained “I think I have a tougher fight with Juan then I would with Caldwell. I definitely think I’d finish [Caldwell] he would definitely have to work on his cardio. [His loss to Kyoji Horiguchi] was crazy. He was winning the whole fight, he got caught in that choke. I don’t know if he was tired or what not. I don’t know if he was able to get out of it.”
Bandejas (11-1) looks to extend his winning streak to seven-straight when he faces former KOTC champion Archuleta next Saturday. His opponent is a main training partner of current UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and hasn’t lost a fight since May 2015. Coming off three straight wins in Bellator, Bandejas isn’t taking Archuleta lightly.
“I think I match up well [against Archuleta]. I think a lot of his fights he wins because he breaks people. He has a great cardio and he’s a grinder, which is exactly what I am. It’s going to be a tough fight, but I definitely see myself coming out with the win. I didn’t hear it directly. I can’t imagine [the winner wouldn’t get a title shot] I mean 21-1 vs. 11-1. I can’t imagine [not getting it] the winner of this, I’d hate to see who would have to fight to get a title shot.”
With the likely rematch between Horicughi vs. Caldwell for the 135-pound title, Bandejas also is open to another fight with Gallagher because of all the buildup in their first fight. With that said, Bandejas thinks Gallagher is taking an easy matchup in his next fight against Steven Graham at Bellator 217.
“I hear there is an automatic rematch which should be exciting to me. It doesn’t matter to me, the belt is awesome to add to the shelf. I love to stay active and get paid. If I fight Caldwell this year, next year, it doesn’t matter. [Gallagher] definitely seems bitter. Hey I’m up for any type of fight. I’m up for a rematch, if everything works out we can do a rematch too. Not discrediting [Graham] at all, but he’s 6-3. From a guy like Gallagher who talks so much, you can’t really talk that crap when you’re not fighting top competition.”