Juan Archuleta Re-Signs with Bellator, Title Fight with Darrion Caldwell in the Works

Juan Archuleta Bellator MMA
Credit: Bellator MMA

Juan Archuleta says a title fight between him and champion, Darrion Caldwell is in the works, looking to become the 135lbs champion and compete in the 145lbs Bellator tournament.

It wasn’t long ago Juan Archuleta was a top prospect, many questioning not if, but when ‘The Spaniard’ would sign with a major MMA promotion. Finding a home in Bellator, Archuleta has since gone 4-0 for the promotion, 22-1 overall, and it looks as though his next step is fighting for gold.

Currently atop the bantamweight division sits Darrion ‘The Wolf’ Caldwell, who prior to his most recent loss to Rizin champion Kyoji Horiguchi, was on a four-fight winning streak. While Bellator and Rizin at first had a rematch between the two champions in mind, Rizin has since booked Horiguchi a fight, where he will look to defend his title against Ben Nguyen at Rizin 15. With this off the table, at least for now, Archuleta was negotiating a new contact with Bellator, a 135lbs title shot was a topic of discussion, and as it remains in the works, both Archuleta and Caldwell are interested.

‘The Spaniard’ took to social media, at first calling both the champion and Patricio ‘Pitbull’ out, but would shortly after announce a fight between him and Darrion was in the works, which he confirms with Cageside Press.

“Yeah so, my last fight was the end of my contract with Bellator, and we had some negotiation talk going back and forth, and from what I was told from Bellator is that my next fight – they’re making up the contract right now – is for the bantamweight title against Darrion Caldwell,” Archuleta continues, “Since Horiguchi decided not to fight Caldwell and has decided to fight in April for Rizin.”

“If they (Rizin) want the rematch with Darrion (Caldwell vs. Horiguchi) they can have it, or if I win the fight and get the title and they want to fight me, it makes it all the more sweeter.”

With seemingly endless possibilities, Archuleta is well aware of his opportunities in fighting both the Bellator and Rizin champion, but he also informs Cageside Press that he will be entering the 145lbs tournament kicking off later this year.

“The reason it’s a little bit of a hiccup is because I am both getting the title fight at 135lbs and then doing the 145lbs tournament.”

With what may seem to be an early title shot to some, Juan has not only been the champion of previous organizations, as he took his time in signing with a major promotion, but he was the champion of multiple weight-classes spontaneously. He feels he’s put in the work, and has earned this opportunity.

“I’ve done my diligence of fighting [in] multiple weight-classes, winning multiple world titles and have paved the road to where peers ahead of me [like] Cub Swanson, TJ (Dillashaw), Joe Stevenson, Duane Ludwig, Eddie Alvarez, and just all these guys that have put in the hard work.” Juan adds, “I follow their lead, and did my own thing, went forward and stayed confident with my preparation. If you look at my career, fighting multiple weight classes isn’t any different for me.”

“He’s (Darrion Caldwell) definitely in for a fight, and if he backs out, everyone’s going to know it’s more his team than mine because I’m right here telling you first that my contract is going to be signed as soon as they give it to me.”

Full interview here:

With the fight between Archuleta and Caldwell being verbally agreed to, it is not quite official yet however, Caldwell commented on his Instagram saying, “Sign the dotted line.” Welcoming the challenge.

A training partner and friend of TJ Dillashaw, he touches on how his recent loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC’s big debut on ESPN affected him, and what the process was like afterward. Attributing much of his success to his team, he also touches on having the strength to push through a PCL injury in his last fight, recovery and being 100% ahead of whatever comes next.

Having such a strong team behind him – title challengers, current and former champions – Archuleta says, “it’s my turn.” Being on a 17-fight win streak, who are we to disagree?

Should Juan Archuleta be victorious in a potential fight with current 135lbs champion Darrion Caldwell, would you like to see him fight the winner of Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nyguen? Let us know in the comments below!