Brendan Loughnane can now freely refer to himself as a champion after successfully clinching the featherweight championship along with the $1 million prize by defeating Bubba Jenkins in the co-main event of the PFL Championship show on Friday in New York.
Loughnane was on point throughout the evening, first taking out Jenkins with leg kicks early on before ramping up the pressure on the head with each subsequent round. Loughnane finally stopped the fight in the fourth after continuing to throw punches until he wiggled Jenkins with a well-timed shot and rushed on the former NCAA wrestling champion. At 2:38 in the fourth round, the game was over.
“Forget the belt, forget the million, it’s about the performance,” Loughnane said afterward. “I’m trying to prove how good I am. It’s a grind. It’s the hardest competition in sports. I’m emotional. Just thank you to everybody.”
Brendan Loughnane notably failed to receive a UFC contract in 2019 though he ended up winning his match on Dana White's Contender Series (DWCS). The UFC president cited Loughnane's "lack of heart" as the basis for his choice.
On DWCS, Loughnane had the upper hand, but in the final round, he attempted a takedown, the exact reverse of what White wanted to see. The Englishman was then signed by the PFL and has an 8-1 record since the promotion. Loughnane (26-4) had this moment in mind ever since he agreed to the promotion's terms in 2019.
“That’s why I was so emotional when I finished him, I was just like, ‘Wow, it’s over – the goal I’ve had,'” Loughnane told reporters at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Sucka). “I’ve had this up on my wall since I joined the PFL. That’s how serious I was about this sh*t. I didn’t come here to play around. You just watched a young lad achieve his dream.”
Loughnane is confident the victory cements him as one of the best featherweights today.
“There’s f*king plenty left in the tank,” Loughnane said. “What a performance, what a performance. It’s going to take someone very f*cking good to beat me. … Look what I just did to him. Let’s be honest about something here, I’m one of the best 145ers on planet earth in any organization.’’
Looking back on that occasion, when Dana White failed to act in the best interest of Loughnane considering his superior position over his challenger, Loughnane does have something to comment on.
“I remember an interview that was done like, ‘If I’m wrong about this kid, then show me.’ There you go. There you go,” Loughnane said. “What more can I say on that?”