One way Brendan Loughnane knows he’s got the MMA world’s attention is by the fighters who say his name.
Once known as an almost-was in the UFC, Loughnane is now fielding tweets from none other than Conor McGregor – and getting called out by octagon vets.
“Oh yeah, they’re all on it now,” Loughnane said Monday on The MMA Hour. “A bit of a name now. Let’s go. I’m here for it.”
Loughnane picked up the biggest win of his career this past Friday, beating Bubba Jenkins in the featherweight finals of the Season 4 PFL tournament. Tears flowed in the cage as a gold belt was wrapped around his waist and he hoisted a $1 million check.
When he stepped onto the MMA Hour set, Loughnane was just coming off a long celebration with what he said was 300 to 400 of his compatriots from the U.K. and Ireland. Somewhere during a 48-hour bender with his mates, someone pointed out McGregor’s unqualified endorsement of his skills – a call for the UFC to sign him.
UFC, sign Brendan Loughnane. Exciting fighter. A back story with the company. And of the European side. A money in the bank uk/Europe signing. Congrats on the win @BrendanMMA— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 26, 2022
Loughnane knows McGregor, so it wasn’t totally random. It was still very much appreciated, especially considering where he came from and what he sacrificed to make it to that point.
“I thought it was really nice,” Loughnane said. “Out of nowhere. Beautiful. Thank you. ... I was out in the pub, still drinking, and someone was like, ‘Hey, Conor just tweeted you.’ It was really random. When Conor speaks, though, everyone listens.
“But yeah, I’m PFL anyway.”
Apparently, some fighters haven’t fully gotten that memo, or perhaps they think Loughnane is more eager than he is to get another shot in the UFC after its president Dana White famously snubbed him.
“I was arguing with him back and forth,” Loughnane said of his interaction with “Boston Strong.” “It was today, I woke up to this sweet, like, ‘Brendan, no-name Loughnane, you need to fight me and become the real champ.’
“I was like, mate, you’re terrible. What are you talking about? Who are you? Why would he just come out of nowhere [and say] you have to prove yourself against me? I said, ‘You’re a punch bag.’ I don’t need to prove myself to you.”
The same goes for White. Responding to critics who said he unjustly passed on Loughnane, whose last-second takedown attempt on the Contender Series cost him a UFC contract, the UFC president was unapologetic. Loughnane isn’t interested in changing his mind.
In a little over a week, Loughnane will be at the T-Mobile Arena to corner his longtime friend and teammate, UFC middleweight Darren Till. It’s not unrealistic to think he could wind up face-to-face with the man who sent him down another career path. But he has no desire to have the last word.
“I was on [Michael] Bisping’s podcast last week, and said to me, ‘I remember when you said something about Dana after what had happened,’ and actually, I didn’t,” Loughnane said. “I’ve never, ever publicly once said anything bad. I was like, ‘I didn’t say anything.’ He was like, ‘I’m sure I’ve seen something somewhere.’
“And I still don’t, because really, what happened there as a result, I did this, and the one thing [White said about me] was, ‘Well, if I’m wrong, show me.’ Remember that one? I mean...
And then, Loughnane pointed to his belt. Enough said.
Besides, more UFC veterans are already making their way to the UFC, no doubt lured in part by the big payouts possible in the tournament. One defector, Shane Burgos, wasn’t able to make his PFL debut in a superfight against Marlon Moraes. But Loughnane hasn’t forgotten about the featherweight vet.
“Who doesn’t want to see Brendan Loughnane and Shane Burgos? Who doesn’t want to see that fight?” he asked.