Brendan Loughnane is surprised he’s still ‘hungry’ for MMA success after becoming a champion and millionaire last year.
The 27-4 fighter knocked out Bubba Jenkins to win the Professional Fighters League [PFL] featherweight title and the promotion’s mammoth seven-figure prize in November at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.
For Loughnane, his title win completed a long journey to the top of the sport which wasn’t always easy as he was infamously rejected by UFC president Dana White.
The 33-year-old fought for MMA’s premier promotion once in 2012 after a stint on contestant show The Ultimate Fighter before being released and spending the next seven years trying to get another shot.
In 2019, he was given a chance to prove himself on the Contender Series and seemed to do enough to secure a UFC contract as he easily beat Bill Algeo who has since been signed to the company.
However, White blasted Loughnane for shooting for a takedown in the final seconds of the fight, refused to sign him, and implored other promotions to prove him wrong by making a star out of the Manchester man.
That’s exactly what PFL did and, three years later, Loughnane became their featherweight champion and won a life-changing amount of money that has surprisingly made him even more hungry.
Before $1 million hit his bank account, Loughnane admitted he was not sure if he’d want to fight again after becoming a rich man but has now revealed it’s actually made him determined to achieve even more in the sport.
He told talkSPORT: “It made me double hungry. I thought I would get the money and the belts and just be happy in the sunset, but it made me even more hungry.
“Yeah, two-time champion sounds good to me and that’s what I want to cement my legacy as.
“I’ve bought myself a nice little apartment in Dubai, a couple of nice bits and bobs, treated my mum and that. Yeah, these cheques are coming in thick and fast, so I can’t ask for them quick enough.”
Loughnane recently got his 2023 PFL season off to the perfect start by stopping former UFC title challenger Marlon Moraes inside two rounds.
Now, he’s determined to reach the final again and get a rematch with Movlid Khaybulaev who beat him by split decision when they met in the 2021 PFL semi-final.
Loughnane added: “Everyone knows who I want to fight. I want that rematch with Movlid. I want it in the final, I want it over five rounds, and I want to get that win back.
“That’s my last loss. In my last 11 fights, he’s the only loss. I went into that fight heavily compromised, and I’ll be looking forward to beating him this year.”
Khaybulaev did not compete in last year’s PFL tournament but returned to MMA with a unanimous decision win earlier this month in a fight the champion described as ‘boring’.
Loughnane will compete again on June 8 but it’s currently unclear who he will fight, although it can be narrowed down to one of the nine other athletes on this season’s featherweight roster.