Brendan Loughnane is confident that 2022 will be the year he’s no longer known as the guy UFC president Dana White infamously rejected.
The Manchester man has achieved a lot in the sport of MMA but is remembered by most for something he failed to achieve in 2018 during his ill-fated appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series.
DWCS is a show that pits up-and-coming fighters against each other as they look to earn their shot in the UFC. However, a win is not always enough to get yourself a UFC contract as it’s all about impressing White – the big boss – with your performance.
After easing his way to a decision win over Bill Algeo, who is now a UFC fighter, Loughnane was overlooked by the promotion’s president who suggested he was no cut out for the UFC because of something he did in the final seconds of the fight.
“Let me tell you what you don’t do: you don’t come here, you don’t fight that type of fight, and you don’t go for the double leg [takedown] with 10 seconds left in the fight,” White controversially said as he refused to sign Loughnane to the UFC.
Four years on and the 32-year-old has failed to live down the experience despite going on to have an impressive career in the Professional Fighters League.
“It seems to be the most infamous part of my career this Contender series,” Loughnane told talkSPORT.
“It’s something that I’m going to carry forever and I can’t really shake it off. It was 2018, so we’re going back four years, it’s still the focal point of my career, it’s crazy.”
Loughnane is anxious to change his reputation in the MMA world by becoming a champion in the PFL and claiming the $1 million prize money that comes with it.
“This year we’ll be changing that. The major focus will be Brandon Loughnane, UK champion, PFL season 2022,” he said.
Away from his infamous run-in with the UFC boss, Loughnane is highly respected in the MMA world and regarded as one of the best featherweights in the sport.
Unfortunately, the Englishman, who boasts a record 22-4, has spent most of his career trying to work his way into a promotion that for whatever reason doesn’t seem to want him.
Ten years ago, Loughnane was featured on The Ultimate Fighter as he tried to earn his way into the UFC. After falling short in the semi-finals, he was given a shot on the TUF Finale card but ultimately dropped to a decision defeat against his compatriot Mike Wilkinson.
After years of UFC rejection, Loughnane is happy to have found a permanent home with PFL, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest MMA organisations on the planet.
“I took a bit of a risk to be honest because when I signed with them, they had no English talent whatsoever,” he said. “They had a few good guys but I was the first one with a decent profile to kind of go.”
After watching PFL put together a stacked roster featuring the likes of Claressa Shields, Kayla Harrison, Anthony Pettis, and Rory MacDonald, Loughnane is happy he took the leap.
“I’m glad I went,” he said. “They treated me with the utmost respect, they’re great people to work for, by far the best company I’ve ever fought for and I absolutely love the back staff and the way they operate. It’s like a dream come true fighting for these guys, it really is.”
Loughnane made it all the way to the semi-finals of the PFL 2021 season before dropping to a split decision defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov trained Movlid Khaybulaev.
After falling short last year, Loughnane believes he will go all the way this time around and got off to a great start when he beat Ryoji Kudo by technical decision in his first fight of the 2022 PFL regular season.