Bellator 214: Juan Archuleta Has Eye on Title Shot, But Won’t Sit Long

Juan Archuleta in on the hunt for a title shot at Bellator 214, but should he win, he doesn’t intend to sit out long, and 155lb remains an option.

Los Angeles, CA — Juan Archuleta is dropping down to the bantamweight division in Bellator MMA with one goal in mind: a title shot. That much he made clear Thursday, ahead of his Bellator 214 clash against Ricky Bandejas. Archuleta is on a sixteen fight win streak, and was tearing things up in the featherweight division. But 135lbs brings with it a world of opportunity. We would say possibilities, but, well…

“This isn’t a possibility, this is for the number one contender’s spot,” Archuleta corrected when the word “possibility” was mentioned ahead of this weekend’s scrap. “Ricky put on a hell of a performance with Gallagher, and basically chopped him up on the chopping block to be the number one contender. Myself dropping down, like you said, had a great career at 145 my last three fights.”

“What better way to go out there and make noise at 135 than fighting Ricky Bandejas, who’s made a name,” he continued. “This is for the number one contender spot. I’m excited, winner of this is going to be fighting for the title their next fight.”

Confidence both in and out of the cage is not something Juan Archuleta is lacking.

Breaking down his opponent, ‘The Spaniard’ sees a lot of similarities to himself. “He’s a blue collar athlete. He loves his family, he loves his job, he’s a 9 to 5 guy just like I was,” Archuleta observed. “Now he’s here to make a name and make a statement. So he can do what he loves, which is martial arts.”

“It’s scary, because I’m going in there and facing myself,’ he suggested. “I see a lot of myself in him, he sees a lot of himself in me, and it’s going to make for a great fight.”

For all of the talk about title shots, Archuleta is aware that bantamweight champ Darrion Caldwell is expected to meet Kyoji Horiguchi a second time first. The pair met last month at RIZIN 14. Horiguchi won that night in Saitama, Japan. The duo will rematch in Bellator.

“I would love to see a rematch with Horiguchi and Caldwell. I’m a huge MMA fan,” said Archuleta. “If that roadblocks me then I go up to 55 and make some noise at  55, and just keep fighting.”

“You don’t ever put yourself in a position where you’re waiting on the organization,” Archuleta finished.

Juan Archuleta takes on Ricky Bandejas on the main card of Bellator 214 this Saturday, January 26. The card airs on Paramount Network and DAZN.