Issue 196

December 2022

Back in December, Simon Head collared 2022 PFL featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane for a quickfire chat on the red carpet of the Fighters Only World MMA Awards to see how life had changed for the UK’s newly-minted million-dollar man.

I know it's been your dream to capture a world title, and now you're PFL featherweight champ. Have you come down off Cloud Nine yet?

No, not yet, mate! No, it still feels a bit surreal but I've started to come to terms with it a little bit more. Now when they finish a sentence everyone calls me champ! It's a different life!

How's the reaction been from family and friends back home?

Amazing. Exactly what it was gonna be like. I've finally got my dues out of the sport. If I hadn't have beaten Bubba Jenkins and he'd taken the title, there wouldn't have been any justice on Planet Earth. I worked very hard for that one, and I got it.

Those last two performances in the PFL last season – against Chris Wade and Bubba Jenkins – were right up there with the best performances we've seen by a British fighter on the world stage. What does it mean to you to be able to perform to that level at the highest level?

That means a lot, mate, coming from you. They were two very high-level wrestlers, and I was able to negate their wrestling and implement my gameplan, and I made it look pretty easy in both of them. So the sky's the limit for me, it really is. I've just turned 33, and I feel like I'm just coming into my own.

What's the Brendan Loughnane gameplan for 2023?

Just more negating people's wrestling, because everyone's just going to try to wrestle me, aren't they?! As you know, Shane Burgos might have a fight with me, so if we do, we'll have a right old scrap, so let's see.

And what’s it like to be here on the red carpet at the Fighters Only World MMA Awards?

Brilliant, mate. This sport needs more of this, it really does. Star-studded event, red carpet... I even had to pull a suit out for this one!