Bellator 228: Juan Archuleta On Working with Dillashaw, Pitbull as GOAT

Juan Archuleta agrees that Patricio Pitbull may very well be the GOAT, at least in Bellator — which is why he wanted the champ first in the featherweight grand prix.

Los Angeles, CA — It feels like Juan Archuleta was ready for his close-up a couple of fights ago. At least ready for his title shot. But Archuleta, challenging Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 228 as part of the featherweight grand prix, didn’t want to rush things. Instead, he was looking for longevity.

On an 18-fight win streak, Archuleta (23-1) certainly did not rush. And now, “I’m ready for this moment. I’m ready for this time,” he told reporters including Cageside Press at Wednesday’s Bellator 228 open workout.

“I’m super excited. This is nothing new to me,” Archuleta explained. “I’ve already lost and won some of the biggest title fights that there is out there. Being partners with TJ [Dillashaw], Cub [Swanson], I’ve seen it all. I’ve taken it all in, I’ve got to take my time and experience the very highs of MMA and the very lows of MMA.”

Archuleta became something of a belt collector outside the big leagues, winning titles in Gladiator Challenge, TFE, and King of the Cage, among other promotions. Competing for gold in Bellator, however, “it’s a huge difference,” he said. “I’m fighting for Bellator’s featherweight world title. That’s one of the best in Bellator. He’s had a great career. He went out and had the performance of a lifetime his last fight. And he’s coming off some huge momentum.”

“So going into this fight, fighting a double champ, it means a lot more to me, to go out there and dethrone a double champ,” Archuleta added.

Archuleta has been in that spot himself, with guys looking to put his head on a platter. “I understand that, I’m on the other side now, and I’m looking to go in there and dethrone the man.”

Working with TJ Dillashaw, currently persona non grata in the UFC, has been “an experience money can’t buy,” Archuleta answered when asked about his training partner.  “Even his last fight, I had a week until my fight, and I got to be out there with him,” Archuleta explained, saying he wanted to take in the bright lights, big-crowd feel to prepare himself for a fight like his upcoming bout with Patricio Pitbull.

As for the champ, “he is one of the greatest of all time. He’s done his work, he’s done his diligence. He’s run out there, he’s proved to be a double champ. That’s the title that I’m looking to take. He’s the baddest motherf*cker right now that there is in Bellator to fight. And that’s why I wanted him first.”

Watch the full Bellator 228 open workout scrum with Juan Archuleta above! Bellator 228 takes place Saturday, September 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, CA.