Exclusive – Caolan Loughran bolted from Atlantic City after first UFC win: ‘It’s not the best place in the world’

Caolan Loughran got out of Atlantic City as fast as possible following his first UFC victoryAfter a rough go in his UFC debut, Irish standout Caolan Loughran is ready to make it two-in-a-row inside…

Caolan Loughran got out of Atlantic City as fast as possible following his first UFC victory

After a rough go in his UFC debut, Irish standout Caolan Loughran is ready to make it two-in-a-row inside the Octagon.

‘The Don’ was dealt the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts career at UFC Paris last year, suffering a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Taylor Lapilus. Six months later, he bounced back with a win over Angel Pacheco in Atlantic City, securing his first victory inside the Octagon and moving his overall record to 9-1.

Caolan Loughran

Speaking with Jordan Wright in a LowKick MMA exclusive interview, Loughran revealed that taking his first loss was more of a relief than anything, but he’s ready to continue his climb up the bantamweight ladder at UFC 304 on July 27.

“At the time it was just relief after I took my first professional loss,” Loughran said. “When you win, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m the f*cking man.’ Honestly, you’re just thinking, ‘Thank f*ck’ and then move forward, but once you get a new fight signed and you look to move up in the division, it’s very quickly back to business. But I’m feeling really good and I’m well prepared for this one.”

Caolan Loughran

Caolan Loughran was not a fan of Atlantic City

Asked if he spent any time celebrating his first UFC win in Atlantic City, Loughran made his feelings about the ‘Vegas of the East Coast’ pretty clear.

“Truth be told, Atlantic City is a sh*thole,” Loughran added. “Not much goes on. We had planned to spend the next day in AC, but very quickly realized it’s not the best place in the world so the next day we all got up and left straight to New York. That was the plan anyway, but we were going to go on Monday. So me, my brother, my sister, and my woman all went up there.

… It was really nice. We got to take it [all] in. That’s the best thing about fighting. Bringing people on the trips and the experiences that come with it, like traveling the world and fighting in the UFC. It’s unbelievable.”

Fortunately, Loughran won’t have to make another 3,000-mile trek to a “sh*thole” for his next fight. On July 27, ‘The Don’ will head to Manchester for a clash with Ramon Taveras, a 10-2 fighter who, like Loughran, will be looking for win number two on MMA’s biggest stage.

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Watch the full exclusive interview with Caolan Loughran below:

Robert Whittaker Backs Teammate To Climb Into UFC Middleweight Top 10: ‘I’m The Best In The World & He Gives Me Trouble’ (Exclusive)

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker expects his division’s title picture to soon have another Australian making waves. Whittaker is one of the most experienced high level competitors in MMA today. He has been considered to be right at the top of the 185-pound weight class ever since 2017 when he became the interim champion […]

Continue Reading Robert Whittaker Backs Teammate To Climb Into UFC Middleweight Top 10: ‘I’m The Best In The World & He Gives Me Trouble’ (Exclusive) at MMA News.

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker expects his division’s title picture to soon have another Australian making waves.

Whittaker is one of the most experienced high level competitors in MMA today. He has been considered to be right at the top of the 185-pound weight class ever since 2017 when he became the interim champion by defeating Yoel Romero at UFC 213, and he’s still in the title picture to this day.

With that in mind, “The Reaper” is an excellent judge of whether fighters have what it takes to swim with the sharks. In his opinion, one of his close teammates and training partners is just waiting for the opportunity to live up to his potential…

Robert Whittaker Says Teammate Jacob Malkoun Has What It Takes To Fight The Best In The World

Speaking in an interview with MMA News, Whittaker was asked to name some of the fighters he will always tune in to watch as a fan favorite himself.

“Well, my teammate, Jacob Malkoun, he’s certainly one that I watch, obviously. But I think that he’s still flying under the radar,” Whittaker said. “I think he had a couple unfortunate weird losses but he’s back in that winning column now and he’s a guy that could fight someone in the top 10 tomorrow I think and like, handedly get his hand raised.”

The 28-year old Malkoun has had an up and down run so far in the UFC since debuting back at UFC 254 in 2020 with just four professional fights under his belt.

He has since secured four wins in seven outings, the latest of which came in March when he stopped Andre Petroski in one of the most unique endings to a fight in some time.

Whittaker believes that his teammate is more than equipped to compete at the top level of the division and hopes that he will get his opportunity to prove that in the near future.

“I think Jacob will beat a lot of people. Like, I cannot stress enough how much trouble he gives me in the gym and I think I’m the best in the world,” Whittaker continued. “He gives me trouble every single day, so the world’s his oyster. I want to see him get a top 10 fight and just cement that.”

Continue Reading Robert Whittaker Backs Teammate To Climb Into UFC Middleweight Top 10: ‘I’m The Best In The World & He Gives Me Trouble’ (Exclusive) at MMA News.

Exclusive – Urijah Faber, Sacramento State launch world-First MMA program for students

Urijah Faber launches worlds first MMA student program with Sacramento StateUrijah Faber and Sacramento State University president J. Luke Wood are set to make history with a revolutionary collegiate…

Urijah Faber launches worlds first MMA student program with Sacramento State

Urijah Faber and Sacramento State University president J. Luke Wood are set to make history with a revolutionary collegiate program that’s meant to guide young aspiring fighters and give them a foot in the door to the fight game.

A trailblazer in MMA, Faber has towed the line between fighting and being a coach himself for many years. He runs a very successful gym called Team Alpha Male, which has seen rise to multiple UFC champions. Now, thanks to the wit of one student traveling to Sacramento State from overseas, paired with a flourishing relationship between Urijah Faber and president J. Luke Wood, the world’s first-ever collegiate MMA program will be coming to life in Northern California.

Urijah Faber

Speaking to LowKick MMA reporter Makoa Goble, Urijah Faber detailed this revolutionary new program, which is to be called Combat U. Combat U will help students develop as mixed martial artists while also giving them a promotion to fight for, as Faber owns his own promotion called A1 Combat.

Urijah Faber details Combat U and its inception

When asked how the idea of such a revolutionary program came to be, Faber explained a few factors that led to it. He spoke of how President Wood was a fan of combat sports, and actually even trained at Faber’s gym. Then, a female mixed martial artist from India got into contact with President Wood and told him how she decided to go to the school because of how close it was to the Team Alpha Male gym.

All of these factors led to an idea, and it was a very brilliant one. How about a collegiately backed program that is aimed to usher in an entirely new generation of combat sports athletes? It was made even more convenient by the fact that Faber’s gym is so close to the campus. As Faber continued to explain things, it was as if all the building blocks perfectly fell into place, as if it was all meant to be.

Faber on the unclear pathway for young fighters, and what the program could mean for them

“We have a strong history of being a host to young athletes (at Team Alpha Male), but they’ve always had to take a fork in the road: pursue academics, or pursue a career in the fight game,” Urijah Faber said. “…We actually have some of our current fighters that are interested in being a part of the program.”

Urijah Faber UFC 290
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

“So, we already have guys that were waiting to go back into their education afterwards (after their fight career is over), that is going to start doing it (going back to school) now. It’s still really raw, there’s still really no pathway. I’ve got a bunch of things outside of this that I’m working on to help really get that dialled in.”

Urijah Faber would go on to speak about how he’d like to work in conjunction with what the UFC is already doing, which is trying to open the floodgates and more easily allow aspiring fighters to walk the path. He brought up how more classic sports, such as football or basketball, already had very set paths for athletes to follow. The sport of MMA, however, does not have the same easy canals for young prospects to float down.

Young prospects must lead a difficult life of balancing working, training, and fighting. If a fighter is lucky, somebody will invest in their future and allow them to focus solely on training and fighting. However, this could be considered quite rare, and most fighters just have to work while also undergoing gruelling training and then pitting themselves against other young and hungry fighters in the cage.

Now, though, everything could be changing. If the Combat U program at Sacramento State is a success, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more colleges around the country and world provide a similar program. All of which would supply young fighters with a solid support system to make following their dreams a little easier.

What are your thoughts on Urijah Faber and Combat U?

Exclusive – Urijah Faber backs Jose Aldo to ‘Cut the line’ and fight for title after UFC 301: ‘He looked amazing’

Urijah Faber backs Jose Aldo to cut the line with title fight after UFC 301 he looked amazingUrijah Faber stopped by to discuss a revolutionary college MMA program that he and others will spearhead. During his…

Urijah Faber backs Jose Aldo to cut the line with title fight after UFC 301 he looked amazing

Urijah Faber stopped by to discuss a revolutionary college MMA program that he and others will spearhead. During his time with us, he was also kind enough to share his reaction to Jose Aldo’s magnificent UFC 301 victory and Aldo’s desire to “cut the line” and fight Sean O’Malley for UFC bantamweight gold.

Jose Aldo UFC 301 2 1

Faber and Aldo go way back, having shared the cage together during their title match at WEC 48 way back in 2010. Since then, the two have always been very amicable towards each other, and ‘The California Kid’ is overjoyed to see Aldo’s success at 135lbs in the UFC.

Urijah Faber UFC 290

Aldo’s last outing saw him defeat a young up-and-comer named Jonathan Martinez at UFC 301. After the fight, Aldo spoke about his title ambitions and his desire to make one last run at things. Unsurprisingly, this left MMA fans very excited to see a final Jose Aldo run, and Urijah Faber didn’t falter in giving his opinion on the matter.

Urijah Faber speaks on Jose Aldo’s success at 135lbs, would love to see a final title run

When asked about Aldo skipping the line and facing Sean O’Malley for bantamweight gold, Urijah Faber was excited. “I would love to see that,” he said, speaking to Lowkick MMA reporter Makoa Goble. “I think this is one of the best (conditions) that I’ve seen Aldo (in). I think the acclimation to the weight class is big. He was always a big guy. When I fought him at 145lbs, I felt like he was a big guy.”

Jose Aldo UFC 301 1

“I think it really took a while for his body to adjust to being a 135lber, but I thought he looked amazing. We don’t speak the same language, so when I see Aldo, it’s mostly some basic exchanges of greetings and sharing love. We’ve always had a great energy. Before we fought, after we fought, and the years after retirement for me.”

Who do you think that Sean O’Malley will defend his title against next?

Exclusive – Urijah Faber unsure Sean O’Malley wins fight with Merab Dvalishvili: ‘That’s a bad matchup’

Urijah Faber unsure Sean O'Malley beats Merab Dvalishvili that's a bad matchup for himUrijah Faber recently spoke with us here at Lowkick MMA and gave his thoughts on how the current bantamweight…

Urijah Faber unsure Sean O'Malley beats Merab Dvalishvili that's a bad matchup for him

Urijah Faber recently spoke with us here at Lowkick MMA and gave his thoughts on how the current bantamweight champion, Sean O’Malley, would fare against what many consider to be his toughest challenger yet: Merab Dvalishvili.

It seems almost fated that O’Malley and Dvalishvili will fight for the title. ‘Suga’ keeps icing everybody the UFC puts in his way, and Dvalishvili has been a seemingly unstoppable force in the 135lbs division for a long time now. ‘The Machine’ is currently riding an astonishing 10-fight win streak inside the UFC, and it’s getting virtually impossible to deny him a title shot now.

Urijah Faber Sacramento State Combat U

The debate of Sean O’Malley vs Merab Dvalishvili is an intriguing one. Some don’t see how O’Malley will be able to contain the near nonstop pressure of ‘The Machine’, while others believe ‘Suga’ will rise to the occasion. Urijah Faber was kind enough to weigh in on this matter and provide his opinion as a UFC hall-of-famer and elite MMA coach.

Urijah Faber weighs in on the matchup between Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili

“I think it’s going to be hard to say,” Urijah Faber told LowKick MMA reporter Makoa Goble when asked how O’Malley might handle the offensive wrestling pressure that ‘The Machine’ can bring to the table. “You would think so, but nobody else has been able to (stop the wrestling), even Henry Cejudo.”

Merab Dvalishvili’s smothering wrestling pressure has been unstoppable so far. Many have accurately described ‘The Machine’ as a ‘grinder’, and it is true. For the most part, he simply gives his opponents no quarter and no room to breathe.

Sean O'Malley

“Honestly, that’s a bad matchup for O’Malley,” Faber continued. “Because Merab is so durable. That dude is durable. He’s gone against some killers, and just kind of walked through their best offense. The only time he’s really been hurt is when he knocked himself out, slamming himself, ya know.”

“But, O’Malley has got that It factor. He’s got a finesse about him, he’s got like a matador type of style. Merab is definitely a bull, and If O’Malley can have his perfect fight, he’ll just be tagging him with clean shots and staying on the outside. O’Malley’s grappling is really good. I’ve trained with some of his training partners, and they are really high-level training partners… It could go either way.”

Who do you think will win between Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili?

Exclusive – Steve Erceg reveals how his unlikely title fight with Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 came together

Exclusive - Steve Erceg reveals how his unlikely title fight with Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 came togetherJust three fights into his career in the Octagon, Australian standout Steve Erceg has already teed up his first…

Exclusive - Steve Erceg reveals how his unlikely title fight with Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 came together

Just three fights into his career in the Octagon, Australian standout Steve Erceg has already teed up his first shot at UFC gold.

On Saturday, May 4, ‘AstroBoy’ will headline UFC 301 when the promotion returns to Rio de Janeiro. There, Erceg will challenge reigning and defending flyweight world champion Alexandre Pantoja in a fight that nobody saw coming — at least not this soon.

Steve Erceg vs. Alexandre Pantoja

Speaking with Andrew Whitelaw in a LowKick MMA exclusive interview, Erceg offered some details on how the unlikely title tilt came together, revealing along the way that he was essentially in the right place at the right time.

“I expected there’d be quite a few more people ahead of me that would get a shot,” Erceg said. “The way it came together was that all the guys ahead of me except for [Muhammad] Mokaev were injured, had already fought, missed weight, and all that stuff. So it really came down to who performed better at the Vegas show. I finished Matt Schnell and Mokaev had a tough outing [against Alex Perez] so they gave me the opportunity.”

Competing on a Fight Night card in March, Erceg delivered a destructive second-round knockout of Schnell while Mokaev put together a lackluster showing against Perez. That’s all the UFC needed to know who the next man up at flyweight should be.

Steve Erceg KOs Schnell

That and Brandon Royval’s stunning short-notice win over Brandon Moreno a month earlier.

Steve Erceg excited to fight Pantoja on his home turf

Steve Erceg knows a thing or two about winning titles, having captured the Eternal MMA flyweight championship in March 2020. Of course, ‘AstroBoy’ recognizes that there is a big difference between winning a title on the regional scene versus bagging one on MMA’s biggest stage.

“I know I can rise to the occasion, but obviously winning a world title in the UFC is a very different thing,” Erceg said. “It’ll be the culmination of all my hard work. The other titles are cool and all, but they mean a lot less than this one.”

Steve Erceg wins Eternal MMA title

Erceg will certainly have his work cut out for him in his first UFC main event. Not only is he taking on the best flyweight fighter on the planet, but he’ll be doing so in enemy territory.

“I’m excited for it,” Erceg said when asked about fighting Pantoja on his home turf. “I know the crowd is going to be very loud. Not for me. They’re going to be booing me, obviously, but I’ve had some hostile crowds before. Nothing to the level of this, but I love it. I’m gonna relish the opportunity and I can’t wait to beat the Brazilian in front of his home crowd and then leave with the belt.”

Watch the full exclusive interview with Steve Erceg below: