Brendan Loughnane is a British professional mixed martial artist. He competes in the featherweight division of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and has been a professional competitor since 2010.
Born in Manchester, Loughane was as an energetic, athletic, and football-loving teenager who grew up around sports, playing football at a junior level for Stockport County FC. One of his neighbours introduced him to MMA and took him to the gym for training. Loughnane quickly fell in love with the sport and, after only three months of training, had his first amateur fight at the age of 18.
After achieving success in the early stages of his professional career, Loughnane chanced his arm at the UFC, appearing on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes season but was unable to secure a contract with the UFC. In 2013 Loughnane joined Full Contact Contender (FCC) where he became the FCC Lightweight Champion after defeating Jason Cooledge via unanimous decision. He defended the title once with a win over Ali Maclean before signing with BAMMA were he competed at Featherweight. After going 2-0 in the promotion, Loughnane faced Tom DuQuesnoy for the BAMMA Featherweight Championship were he lost via a controversial split decision.
In 2019, Loughnane’s career stood at a crossroads. Viewed by many as one of the best fighters not in the UFC, Loughnane was invited to Dana White’s Contender Series, where despite beating Bill Algeo via unanimous decision, he was not given a contract due to Dana White being upset that he went for a takedown in the last minute of a bout he was dominating.
“It was a massive point in my career, a massive turning point. The UFC's where I wanted to go at the time but it wasn't meant to be. Like the old saying goes. one
door closes and another opens.”
After another unsuccessful attempt at achieving a contract with the UFC, Loughnane turned his attention to the PFL and faced Sheymon Moraes on April 23rd 2021 at PFL 1. He won the bout via KO in the first round before returning on June 10th 2021 winning a hard-fought close bout with Tyler Diamond via majority decision and securing a spot in the PFL playoffs. In the semi-finals of the 2021 Featherweight tournament, Loughnane faced Movlid Khaybulaev on August 27th 2021, losing a close bout via split decision.
Returning for another season in 2022, Loughnane faced Ryoji Kudo on February 21st, winning the bout via technical decision after an accidental clash of heads opened a cut on Kudo and rendered him unable to continue. In his second bout of the season, Loughnane defeated Ago Huskić via unanimous decision and secured a spot in the playoffs for the second year running, where he would face Chris Wade in the semi-finals of the Featherweight tournament. He won the bout via unanimous decision and advanced to the final, where Loughane would face Bubba Jenkins. He won the final via TKO stoppage in the fourth round to win the $1 million collective tournament pool and in turn achieving his life long dream of becoming a world
“I don't need to go anywhere to prove anything to anyone I really don't. I don't need a pat on the back. I’m here, fighting world-class opposition every eight weeks so let people talk. My world titles says other things.”
As defending champion, Loughnane started the 2023 season against MMA veteran Marlon Moraes, winning the bout in the second round, after a barrage of leg kicks left Moraes unable to continue to fight. Needing one more victory to secure his third consecutive playoff appearance, Loughnane faced Jesus Pinedo on June 8th 2023. Loughnane lost the fight via knockout early into the first round, the first stoppage of his MMA career. Pinedo would advance to the finals of the 2023 tournament.
A lot can be said for the grind the PFL tournament can put on an MMA fighters body. Loughnane has reached the latter stages of two out of the three tournaments he’s competed in. Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas recently recounted fighters improve by as much as 30% after winning a world title and Loughnane felt a boost since capturing the gold, saying, “I really do believe it, I mean I heard Leon Edwards say it as well. I don't know, there's just something about defending the title, your confidence goes through the roof inside yourself when you're a champion.”