Brendan Loughnane ready to prove he belongs among featherweight elite as he chases down PFL glory

Loughnane headlines PFL 1 against Sheymon Morae on 23 April (Picture: Getty)

Brendan Loughnane insists he will cement his status as one of the best featherweights in MMA when he wins the PFL championship this season.

The Manchester fighter is Great Britain’s sole representative in the Professional Fighters League which operates under a regular season format, culminating in play-offs and a final championship night.

Loughnane headlines the opening night of action on Friday at PFL 1 when he takes on former UFC fighter Sheymon Moraes in Atlantic City.

Feeling right at home with the promotion, he is now four wins from becoming a world champion – and being awarded the cheque for €1million that is handed to the winner in December.

With the PFL’s 2020 season cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the 31-year-old has been made to wait for his opportunity having waited 18 months for his return to the cage. But he is confident that by the end of the year, it will all be worth it.

Loughnane had a memorable win over Bill Algeo in 2019 (Picture: Getty)

‘I really do see myself in the elite of the featherweights in the world,’ Loughnane (19-3), told ‘I have also sparred all the elite featherweights in the world so I know exactly where I am at.

‘Obviously a spar is different from a fight but it means I know where my ability is and I look forward to proving it in the tournament.

‘With the layoff, the key was to stay in camp and not leave MMA like a lot of these guys did. They key for me was to just stay really active, stay in training with high level training partners and that’s exactly what I did.’

Loughnane, who will remain State-side in between fights training out of the Alliance MMA gym in San Diego, joined the PFL as a free agent in 2019 and has fought twice previously for the promotion, although not under its season format.

White was famously unimpressed with Loughnane’s late takedown attempt (Picture: Getty)

Prior to that, he seemed destined for the UFC, emerging as a breakout star of Dana White’s Contender Series.

It never materialised however, with the UFC president deciding against offering him a contract, unimpressed with his decision to go for a takedown in the final 10 seconds of a fight he dominated against Bill Algeo.

While the incident attracted major controversy, Loughnane has moved on and feels he is now in the right environment to begin delivering on world championship promise.

‘The whole Dana thing was hard to taker at the time,’ he admitted. ‘But time has passed and now it is water under the bridge.

‘I’m happy with where I am in my career. I’m fighting for a world title and a million dollars.’

On his decision to join PFL, he added: ‘It was all about the activity it guarantees. At 31 years old, I just wanted to get into those big fights.

‘I want to fight the best guys and being here has given me the ability to do that. That was the main focus for signing for PFL.

‘It’s nice to have four fight dates locked in and it is nice to know I’m going to have top opposition in all of them.

‘I’m fighting in good arenas and it is nice to have that real sense of security in my mind, it allows me to really plan for these fights now.’

MORE : Rory MacDonald to make PFL debut against David Michaud with April 29 card confirmed

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