(Loughran in action. Image courtesy of Cage Warriors)
Greg Loughran is a man of few words. Currently ranked eighth in the UK rankings, he’s regarded as one of Europe’s best unsigned Lightweights and is a fighter that epitomises the very notion of the “Fighting Irish”. He’s a man who prefers to do his talking with a clenched fist.
Holding a record of 26-12, the twenty-six year old Irishman, known as “The Hitman”, will headline the Art of War event in Florida on April 3rd when he faces tough opponent Edson Berto (17-8-1), a veteran of Elite XC and Strikeforce.
Making his fourth appearance in the US, “The Hitman” defeated WEC and Bellator FC veteran Jonathon Brookings on his debut before losing his next two US bouts against Bellator FC champion Eddie Alvarez via guillotine and Eric Reynolds via TKO. It hasn’t put off the tough Irishman from crossing the Atlantic once again. He said:
“I’ve lost my last two fights, but they were against top opposition on three weeks notice. This time I’ve better time to prepare. The reason I’ve returned is because I’ve made a lot of friends here and I enjoy travelling and meeting different people through the sport. I’m tough and durable.”
Fighting out of Elite Fighting Revolution (EFR) in Ireland, he represents one of the best prospects Ireland has at having a fighter signed by a major organisation. Fighting professionally from the age of 16, he’s fought and beaten fighters such as BAMMA Champion Rob Sinclair, Strike and Submit European Champion Peter Irving and TUF 9 runner up Andre Winner, who is now fighting for the UFC.
Defeating opponents such as Andre Winner and then seeing them progress to the bigger stage has made “The Hitman” realise that he can mix it up with the very best in the world. Seeing them move on to bigger things is something he doesn’t dwell on, however.
“I’ve been in the cage with some good guys and beaten them. They were better managed than me and weren’t taking fights on two days notice. Andre Winner has earned his way to the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter. My hat goes off to him. It’s made me realise I can mix it up with these guys at this level,” says Loughran.
Irish MMA, often eclipsed by the UK domestic scene, has been producing many quality fighters competing throughout Europe. Loughran, who has started training out of Gracie Barra Orlando for the next 5 weeks, began MMA due to becoming “fat and depressed after breaking a leg in school”. He ignores the hopes and expectations placed on him back home in Ireland.
He said: “I honestly don’t feel any pressure going into the fight at all. I’ve earned my opportunity to fight in America; I just concentrate on my training and try to get the best out of myself. Nothing else really matters. I’ve other interests in my life anyway if it doesn’t work out.”
“The Hitman” will certainly have the “Fighting Irish” spirit on his side when he fights on April 3 and will be hoping to make a huge impact on the international stage.