James Gallagher sees Bellator gold in his near future.

The 23-year-old Irish prospect is scheduled to take on Cal Ellenor in the main event of  Bellator Europe 8 on May 16. Gallagher (10-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) sees himself picking up a win in London and then fighting for the vacant bantamweight title against one of the bigger names in the division.

“One-hundred percent, (Sergio) Pettis,” Gallagher told MMA Junkie. “Why not? Dublin, October 3. I’m open. I’m running away from fights here, I’m ruling away from fights there, that’s what they keep saying. That’s what they keep saying. I’m fake this, they say, but what am I doing? Is it fake? Do they really think I’m generating all of this power that I got, beating all these people. Is it not after being three, four years in Bellator, and they’re saying the whole thing is boring. It’s not. It’s real. You just can’t accept it. And I’m cool with that. No one needs to accept it but myself.”

The belt was vacated by Kyoji Horiguchi back in October after he suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for perhaps a full year.

In order to have the possibility available to fight for the Bellator 135-pound title, Gallagher needs to get through Ellenor first. The two were scheduled to fight twice before, but injuries and botched medical assessment delayed the fight.

“He’s too stupid to go to the right doctors,” Gallagher said. “So he went to a doctor that couldn’t clear him to fight because it wasn’t the right doctor to see, and that’s just absolutely mind blowing as a professional athlete. There’s nothing professional about it. I think he’s brain dead, just stupid.

“He was cleared to fight two days before the fight, but that was just too late. I had a replacement. I could’ve been the bitter guy and been like, ‘Well, f*ck you, mate.’ You literally could’ve ran my main event slot, you could’ve f*cked that up. So why should I give him the opportunity? But I wanted to make him pay for it, but then I got a back injury. And as you do, as a professional mixed martial artist, you go and get the right medical (test), you go and get the right scans.”

With the recent pandemic of COVID-19, it’s uncertain how that will affect Bellator’s schedule. There’s still two months until Bellator London. But if all goes well, and the fight happens, Gallagher sees himself submitting Ellenor in the first.

“Between three and four minutes of the first round, rear-naked choke,” Gallagher said.

“I’m in here to show him what’s what, to show him that this level of fighter is something that he doesn’t know what, that he can’t elaborate on.”