Juan Archuleta has held many titles throughout his career. At Bellator 228, he looks to capture his eighth.
“The Spaniard” held championships in weight classes spanning from bantamweight to lightweight during his time in King of the Cage. On Saturday night in Los Angeles, California, he’ll be looking to capture his first with Bellator.
In Archuleta’s recent outings he made a push towards the 135-pound title and even ended up knocking out the former champion, Eduardo Dantas.
Unfortunately for the streaking featherweight title challenger, things didn’t end up working out in regards to his shot at that title. But Archuleta thinks he knows why.
The current champion at 135 is Kyoji Horiguchi who is also the champion for RIZIN FF. Since winning the Bellator strap, Horiguchi has suffered his first defeat in several years. That loss came at the hands of Kai Asakura in just over a minute’s time at RIZIN 19 in August.
“Yeah, it was pretty unfortunate,” Archuleta told The Body Lock when speaking of the bantamweight title picture. “But you know what, this is even better. I couldn’t ask for anything better going into this fight.
“There’s a lot of killers out there. You know, a lot of fighters such as myself, so I understand why he didn’t take the fight after seeing that result.”
As for what’s standing in front of him this weekend, that’s the current featherweight and lightweight champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
Their bout will be the last one of the opening round of the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix.
“You want to fight the best right away,” Archuleta said. “That way there leaves no doubt, he’s going to be the best he’s ever been right now. I’m the best I’ve ever been right now. You know, and there’s no better way to set this round off than having two guys go at it.
“[The tournament format] is awesome. I grew up wrestling in tournaments my whole life. So this is just another tournament for me that I get to go in and dominate and conquer.”
Also competing in the tournament is a teammate of Archuleta’s in Georgi Karakhanyan. He’ll be facing off against AJ McKee earlier in the night.
So what happens if the two end up having to fight?
“We both know we have to take care of business because we don’t fight each other unless we take care of business, right?” he exclaimed. “So that’s the plan going into this weekend. Going in and taking care of my job which is defeating the double champ right now. Which you know, it’s going to take a lot of my best to do but it’s going to take his damn best to beat me as well.”
And assuming Juan Archuleta wins the title and runs through the tournament, he’ll be awarded with a big million dollar prize on top of being the champ.
“I’ll probably invest it,” Archuleta responded when asked what would be the first thing he’d buy. “You know, I’m just gonna look to invest in it. Probably some more nice things, suits, and attire. So when I come to media day, I look fresh.”
Drake Riggs is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at: "Drake Riggs" where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.