Mixed martial arts star James Gallagher says moving out of the hustle and bustle of Dublin's city buzz into the countryside has given him a new lease of life.
'The Strabanimal' gets back into the ring this Saturday night in Milan against Cal Ellenor at Bellator Europe 9.
A win in the bantamweight fight would put the Tyrone man to 11-1 for his MMA career.
The pair were originally slated to fight in February, before an injury to the Irishman scuppered plans, while a new date in May was scrapped as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 23-year-old moved into a new house in the North at the beginning of lockdown, and he says that has made his attitude and outlook go from strength to strength.
"I've made a few big changes, I've just moved home and I've put a gym in the house, I've put a sauna in, I'm out in the countryside and I'm also travelling down to SBG.
"I've got a nutritionist that lives with me and all that, so I'm happy. I'm happy to be in there again and have another fight week roll around. This is my job, this is what I love to do.
"Until I moved here I didn't realise the actual pressure and stress of the city life, that it does get to you. Now when I moved here, I'm training so much more.
"It's really motivated me, I'm just 23-years-old and I've got everything I need and stuff like that, and I'm in a very privileged position and I'm very grateful for it.
"Here I step out in the back garden and there's fields upon fields. You hear a car once every 20 minutes on the road. In Dublin you walk out your apartment door and there are 20 people in the fucking place, it's just constant noise - you can't actually just switch off."
Next up!@Semtex_170 vs @DerekBarbaric headlines our first CBS event on Thursday.#Bellator247
And on Saturday, @StrabanimalMMA squares off with @CalPacinoMMA!#BellatorMilan pic.twitter.com/JSzaR7AWPb
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) September 27, 2020
Gallagher is celebrating ten years in MMA this year - quite remarkable considering he is still only 23. He says he finds it hard to believe thinking back to his debut in the sport at the tender age of 13.
"Now looking back if I have kids of my own or if I was advising someone I definitely would tell him don't fight at 13. I would wait until 16 or 17 and then do some competing, boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and then go into MMA.
"It's a different animal. I did it, I did it well and climbed up and everything was sweet, but I wish I had matured a bit more before I did it, and had the mindset I have now back then.
"I definitely would advise anyone to take their time, but I'm so glad I did it the way I did it - I'm in a great position and I wouldn't change anything."
Gallagher had three straight wins last year, as he bounced back from his first career defeat to Ricky Bandejas in August 2018.
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