The calls from Europe to see Brendan Loughnane re-signed by the UFC have grown even stronger in his 11-month absence from competition.
The Manchester fighter has spent the last few months living with Dominick Cruz in the U.S. In early October, and based on his social media activity, it seemed as though the highly touted British featherweight was trying to align himself with a replacement spot to take on Artem Lobov at UFC Moncton.
It has since been announced that Michael Johnson will take on “The Russian Hammer” in the Moncton co-main event this weekend, but Loughnane believes he only missed out on fighting the SBG featherweight by a few hours.
“It was pretty close,” Loughnane told Peter Carroll on the latest episode of Eurobash.
“We called [Sean] Shelby and we missed it by a few hours, but ultimately it’s the other side’s decision who they fight as well. We were in the running and we are in the running. I’m just going to keep ticking over and the next thing to come will be a big thing, I think.”
Although he’s confident that he will eventually secure a second opportunity with the UFC, Loughnane lamented what could have been an ideal matchup for him.
“It was just a real shame about the Artem fight because that would’ve been the perfect opportunity to open the door, two European guys fighting, it would have been great,” he said.
“We’ve got a little bit of history. That fight there would’ve had fireworks written all over it, but I think I smoke Artem, to be honest. That’s no disrespect to him; I think he’s too predictable and slow, I think I would’ve taken him out of the game. It is what it is, it’s a shame I didn’t get it. I’m not signed to the UFC and he is, so he’s in a better position than me now. For me to say these things isn’t really relevant now because I can’t fight him, but that’s how I think that fight would’ve gone.”
Bolstered by Cruz’s continued endorsement of him, it seems as though Loughnane is better positioned than ever to compete in the Octagon again. Yet, he’s still not willing to count his chickens before they hatch.
“How close is anything? It can feel so close and it can be so far. I’ve been in this same spot since I left the UFC in 2012, so I don’t get my hopes up about anything. I’m just going to take it one fight at a time,” he explained.
He also highlighted that he wished he had taken an offer to fight in the PFL’s featherweight tournament earlier this year.
“I’ve got a decent offer on the table; I might go elsewhere to keep myself active,” he continued. “There are a couple of offers on the table, but I think the biggest missed opportunity of this year was the PFL. I had a chance to do that and it didn’t work out. I’ve been watching that over here and I think I’d smash Lance Palmer and he’s about to win a million dollars, so I feel like that was a missed boat, to be honest.”
While he isn’t sure which banner he will be fighting under, Loughnane is adamant that he will be back in action before the end of 2018.
“I’ll be fighting before the end of the year 100 percent. What promotion? You probably know as well as I do now. For me, it doesn’t really matter right now. I’m in such a great place in my mind and in my training — I’m on Santa Monica beach, I’m not stressed right now.
“This is my passion. This is what I love to do and I do need to fight, we are pushing it every day. We can’t work miracles; when the time is right the time is right. You will 1000 percent, no matter what promotion it is, see me back in the cage before the end of the year if it kills me.”
On the latest episode of Eurobash, MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll chats with Irish journalist Niall McGrath about the latest MMA news from Europe. The Brendan Loughnane interview begins at 30:00.