After building a name for himself on the California fight circuit, bantamweight Juan Archuleta got his big breakthrough in 2018 by stepping up to the national stage with Bellator.
For Archuleta the step up started with signing with former UFC fighter and current manager Tiki Ghosn, and going from there.
“My management went out there and put out the road work and created these contacts for me, and being able to go to a platform like Bellator for the opportunity to make a name for myself, it was a blessed year and I’m definitely grateful for everyone that took part in it,” Archuleta told MMAWeekly.com.
While he was able to go undefeated in three bouts for Bellator in 2018, for Archuleta it’s having as strong of performances as he had that is paramount.
“I’m not focused on the wins and losses,” said Archuleta. “I think that’s where I made the mistake in my career (by) wanting to be undefeated. It’s about the performances. I want to go out there and put on the best performances of my life.
“If I win and I didn’t put on my best performance it’s almost like a loss. I could have done so much more. If you’re always chasing the performance, it changes your mind state when you go out there and perform in a fight.”
On Saturday in Los Angeles, Archuleta (21-1) will look to keep his winning streak alive when he faces Ricky Bandejas (11-1) in a main card 135-pound bout at Bellator 214.
“Ricky likes to get the finish, so it’s a definitely a dangerous fight for me,” Archuleta said. “I’m excited for it and it’s bringing out the best in me in my training camp.”
Now that he’s established himself in Bellator, 2019 is the year Archuleta is looking to becoming one of the promotion’s premier stars.
“You always have goals; otherwise you’re just going through the motions,” said Archuleta. “The goal is to become a household name. The way to do that is to be champion, or beat people who were champions, or being the best out there and having exciting fights.
“Sometimes those (fights) don’t go through and they pull out last second, so you’ve just got to keep grinding; but when they do, it definitely pays dividends.”