Conor McGregor is Ireland’s No. 1 combat sports star, drawing attention and any and every little thing that he does both inside and outside the Octagon.
But Bellator MMA has an Irish fighter they are pushing up the ranks of the bantamweight division in James Gallagher.
Gallagher returns to action next Friday when he headlines Bellator 227  from the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland against Callum Ellenor. The card will be the fourth in the Bellator European Series. The other portion of the card will stream live on DAZN and features Benson Henderson, a former UFC lightweight champion, taking on Myles Jury in the main event. Related: Bellator, James Gallagher Agree To New Six-Fight Contract Extension 
Bellator 227: James Gallagher Career Highlights
Gallagher, just 22 years old, is a native of Strabane, West Tyrone, Ireland and fights out of the same gym and camp as McGregor in SBG Ireland. He made his first three professional fight appearances outside of Bellator, earning first round submissions. After taking care of Gerard Gilmore at BAMMA 24, Bellator officials took notice and signed him.
In 2016, Gallagher made his Bellator debut, going the distance and earning a decision over Mike Cutting. He quickly got back to his submission ways later that year, locking in a rear-naked choke on Anthony Taylor in the third round.
In 2017, Gallagher submitted Kirill Medvedkovsky with a first round rear-naked choke and followed with another first round submission via rear-naked choke over Chinzo Machida – the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion and Bellator title contender Lyoto Machida – at Bellator 180.
Gallagher would be forced to show he could recover from disappointment last year, as Ricky Bandejas caught him with a head-kick that led to his first career loss. He did recover, returning earlier this year to submit Steven Graham in the first round before picking up a decision over Jeremiah Labiano this past June.
Ellenor, Gallagher’s opponent fights out of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England and the Team Fish Tank squad. He owns a career record of 8-2, with six of those victories coming via submission.
This past February at Bellator: Newcaster, he made his debut with the promotion, earning a first round submission win via rear-naked choke over Nathan Greyson.
Gallagher has all the charisma and talent needed to become a huge star for Bellator, especially in regards to the European MMA scene and what they are trying to accomplish over there, but he needs to continue to win – and do so in dominating fashion. As long as that remains, he will have the chance to be a legend.