Top bantamweight prospect right in the mix for vacant belt in Bellator.
Raufeon Stots has been a name that many have known well before the Bellator cage. 14-1 professionally, Stots is now ready to make a title impact. With a victory over the formerly undefeated Cass Bell (5-1) via third round submission at Bellator 242, Stots is eyeing the big names of the division surrounding him. One of those is Irish phenom James Gallagher.
Gallagher hasn’t been biting, however.
“I don’t need James Gallagher,” Stots told Cageside Press this week. “That fight is too much risk for him, he doesn’t like risks. He says I’m chasing clout, I personally just thought it’d be a fun fight. I’m not mad we won’t fight, I was doing him a favor giving him a big name to fight. He doesn’t want to fight, I’m not a bully I won’t make him. I’m above James Gallagher when it comes to the belt.”
Stots has a definite case when it comes to the vacant bantamweight title in Bellator. A winner of his last six in a row, three by finish, Stots is also undefeated since joining the promotion. With Patricky Mix vs. Juan Archuleta announced (with no date set) by Bellator and his teammate Sergio Pettis awaiting the winner, Stots is looking for someone to sign a contract to stay busy.
“People know that fighting me will be a tough route for them to win, so they look for the easier route” Stots explained. “That has been a problem with me when I was looking to get signed by the UFC, they’d tell me I’m next, they’d give the fighter my name and the fighter would decline it.” Stots has began to turn this struggle into a positive though, “I take it as, if I want to be the best, not many are going to want to fight the best.”
Stots said it has been a constant throughout his career with trouble finding fights. The Roufusport fighter said that he had been given a contract to fight Patricky Mix, but Mix never signed. Although finding fights are tough, Stots has used the quarantine to better himself as a fighter, but more importantly as a person. One video he posted that is making the rounds is that of Stots affirming to himself between rounds just how good he is in the cage.
“I’ve turned it all into a positive, I find fights and when I find them, I show up and show what I can do,” Stots told us. “That is new for me. During quarantine I couldn’t train a lot, so I began with affirmation and mental training. I worked on myself a lot during the quarantine. Kind of a blessing, got to slow everything down and digest everything.”
With Stots defeat over Cass Bell, he now holds a 2-0 record in Bellator. While Stots was speaking with the few media members on scene, his boss, Bellator head Scott Coker, had a message for him over Twitter.
“That was huge, that is what you fight for” Stots excitedly stated. “You want the favoritism from the boss. That is better than ESPN posts or anything, that’s the boss, my boss is super happy with what I did. I’m the favorite student right now.”
Stots is in a top tier position when it comes to what’s next for the 31 year old bantamweight. He believes that everything has come full circle for him. Formerly a man dominating on the regional scene in LFA looking for a big time promotion to call home, fast forward to Bellator 242, another victory in the promotion and the boss is calling you the possible future of the division. Bellator is home for Stots. As for when we can see Stots back in the cage? He hopes very soon.
“Any of the guys at the top they are on my radar. Ricky Bandejas is on my radar,” Stots told Cageside Press. “Anyone in that mix. I’m right under Sergio, Mix and Archuleta, right in that mix. I like Mohegan Sun, if I stayed another week I’d be fighting August 7. I want to fight before the year is over. I’ll step in on any of these August cards if they need me.”