SBG’s Brian Moore Wants Ricky Bandejas Next: “I Think I’ll Be Too Much For Him In Every Department”

Image by Patrick Sheehan / Severe MMA.

Ricky Bandejas is making a habit of beating SBG Ireland bantamweights, with KO victories over James Gallagher and Frans Mlambo, but Brian Moore believes that he possesses all the necessary tools in his arsenal to earn redemption for his teammates and the SBG brand by beating the American.

“I have a higher volume. I have a higher output. I’ve cardio for days. I think I’m just crafty as an overall striker and martial artist. I think I’ll be too much for him in every department. I think he will find it very hard to hit me. I think he overextends on a lot of shots, leaving himself open, but then again he can probably see holes in my game,” Moore told Severe MMA’s Andy Stevenson in a recent interview.

This isn’t the first time that there have been conversations around a potential Moore vs Bandejas matchup. After securing an impressive victory on enemy turf over former amateur world champion Mlambo, Bandejas was quick to embrace the narrative that portrayed him as somewhat of an “SBG hunter,” teasing a potential third opponent from the Dublin gym on social media

Bellator clearly recognized the value in continuing this Bandejas vs SBG rivalry, tweeting out the following:

As far as Moore is concerned, it’s a no-brainer matchup for Bellator to make.

 “It’s a good fight for them. It will sell a lot of tickets. It will draw a lot of eyes, that’s for sure. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get a tonne of messages about ‘Ricky, Ricky, Ricky’. It’s going on for ages now. I just want to sign the fucking contract! That’s all I want to do, and then I want to just train, make the walk, and fight.”

While the primary selling point of the matchup would be the Bandejas vs SBG angle, Moore believes that the fight itself would be a crowd pleaser from a stylistic perspective also.

Image by Patrick Sheehan / Severe MMA.

“It’s a perfect fight, really. I don’t think it’s imaginable where you put me and Ricky into a fight, and it’s not an entertaining one. I like his style, I like his character. I’ve nothing against him in that way, but I badly want to fight him, and I badly want to beat him.”

The Wexford native went on to discuss the aspects of Bandejas’ fighting style that make the potential bout intriguing, explaining that there is no personal beef between the pair.

“His last knockout before Frans, that was a really nice shot. That one really excited me. I’m fairly level headed, but when I see competition like that, that’s what really excites me. I really want to fight Ricky because of that. I don’t want to fight him because I don’t like the guy. I do like the guy. He seems like a good guy. It’s his style. He has dynamite in his hands. He’s crafty. He’s a good veteran. He’s got good standup and grappling. He gets emotionally involved in the striking too. I think it would be a complete and utter standup war. That’s what excites me! He’s been on my radar since I first seen [sic] him.”

“It’s guaranteed to be Fight of the Night,” Moore added.

To the Irish MMA stalwart, the Bandejas fight is a crucial next step en route to Bellator gold.

“I just believe that whoever wins would be a big step closer towards a title shot,” Moore explained.

“I really want to get back in there and show that I’m the best bantamweight in the world. I look at the Bantamweights in Bellator, and I genuinely think I smoke every single one of them!”

Image by Patrick Sheehan / Severe MMA.

Amidst a landscape of uncertainty when it comes to MMA rankings and title shots over in the UFC, Bellator MMA have often opted to take a more sporting approach to world championships. In recent years, the promotion has hosted tournament-style formats for their welterweight and heavyweight divisions, rewarding fighters based on merit inside the cage rather than promotional value. Moore believes that Bellator President Scott Coker would be wise to implement a similar strategy for the vacant bantamweight title:

“On a silver platter is a 16-man Grand Prix. You can name 16 bantamweights for Bellator that are all high level, and you could make a seriously competitive tournament.”

If Bellator were to host a tournament-style grand prix for the 135lbs division, Bandejas isn’t the only name on Moore’s list of desired opponents. In an ideal world, Moore’s route to becoming champion would go as follows:

“Ricky Bandejas first. Leandro Higo second. There’s a bit of beef there. He (Higo) was calling me out when I was a featherweight, and since I’ve moved down I’ve heard nothing from him. Ricky first, Higo second. I think that would be a nice one. I want the best to make their way up to the final. I believe that the best in the division besides myself is either Archuleta or Mix. So, either one of them. Both guys are tremendous fighters, and so is Higo. I don’t like the guy, but he’s a good fighter! That’s a great little route, but there are 16 really good fighters in Bellator that could make a grand prix in the morning, no problem!”

You can listen to the full interview with Brian on the Severe MMA YouTube channel via the link below:

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).

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