Juan Archuleta Says Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN Fighters Were “Hand-Selected by the Emperor”

Bellator bantamweight Juan Archuleta sees Saturday’s Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN event as something special.

“The Spaniard,” a former champion in the promotion, spoke in poetic terms of the warrior spirit that is driving him as he prepares to take on Soo Chul Kim in the cross-promotion set for the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Without question, two promotions coming together and pairing up their best fighters is historic. While Bellator and Japan’s RIZIN have worked together in the past, the card is a little deeper this time out. There’s a little more on the line, frankly.

Archuleta, however, went even further than that, suggesting Bellator’s fighters were “hand-selected” by the “Emperor” (that would be CEO Scott Coker) for this task. A fitting analogy, perhaps, given the word “Bellator” comes from Latin, and means “warrior.”

“Yeah, I mean definitely you do rounds to make yourself as familiar as possible. But at the end of the day, a fight’s a fight,” Archuleta told Cageside Press during the event’s media day, asked whether he’d put in any rounds in a ring as opposed to a cage.

The former bantamweight champ then gave his perspective on the event that sees the best of two organizations collide.

“This whole promotion got set up, this whole event got set up, because we got hand-selected. You’ve got fighters that Scott Coker, out of his whole roster, selected five fighters that he knew can come to any fighting arena and fight against anyone’s rules that were thrown at them.”

“We were hand-selected by the Emperor. This goes back into my ancestor’s days, where in the Mesoamerica, there were certain warriors that were selected to go out there after tribes to capture humans and make human sacrifices,” Archuleta continued. “Those were called Jaguar Warriors. That’s what I feel like I am right now, I feel like I’m a Jaguar Warrior hand-selected by the Emperor to go and capture an opponent for him. Capture someone’s soul and bring it to his table.”

That, continued Archuleta, is how he feels his fight with Kim is going to happen. “I’ve got to go in there, I’ve got to be fast, I’ve got to be quick, I’ve got to be agile. It doesn’t matter the terrain, it doesn’t matter who I’m performing in front of. I have got one job to do, and that’s go and capture this guy’s soul. So I’m going to put on the uniform to go out there and perform for my organization, and that’s Bellator.”

Watch the full Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN media day appearance by Juan Archuleta above. The event takes place on December 31, 2022 with the main card airing live on Showtime in the U.S. Elsewhere, the event can be viewed live on Fite.tv.