Nate Loughran has secured eight of his 10 wins by submission. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Nate Loughran will meet Ricky Legere Jr. for the vacant Tachi Palace Fights welterweight title in the TPF 17 “Fall Brawl” co-headliner on Thursday at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif. The entire event will stream live and free to Sherdog.com.
Loughran has never before fought at 170 pounds, and the bout with Legere Jr. will be just his second in the last five years.
A Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance representative, Loughran won his first 10 fights as a professional, including a triangle choke submission against Johnny Rees in his UFC debut. However, he suffered his first loss in his sophomore Octagon appearance, as a rib injury brought a premature end to his battle with Tim Credeur at UFC “Fight for the Troops” in December 2008.
“I got hit in the third minute of the second [round] and stuck it out to the end of the round, but I couldn’t make it to the third,” Loughran said. “I couldn’t get a breath.”
The injury was serious enough to force Loughran to turn down a series of fights offered by the UFC. As a result, the organization let him go.
“They did what any business would do,” he said.
Loughran stepped away from MMA to recuperate, though he continued to train throughout the following few years until deciding it was time to return to the cage. When he was released by the UFC, he had already stated he was looking to drop to 170 pounds. Unfortunately for Loughran, finding a willing foe at welterweight proved exceedingly difficult. About 18 months ago, his manager saw he was serious about fighting again and located an opponent who accepted a catchweight bout at 175 pounds. In stepped Jaime Jara.
“Ironically, I had dropped a weight class, only to fight the biggest guy I’ve ever fought,” Loughran said. “He was really experienced, and he took the fight where he wanted.”
Loughran, however, had shaken off the cage rust, and after three hard rounds, he walked away with a split decision over Jara. Eight months later, Loughran finds himself matched with Legere Jr. A Millennia MMA representative, “The IE Bad Boy” will enter the match on an eight-fight winning streak that includes victories in Strikeforce and Bellator MMA. Loughran takes a clinical approach to fighting.
“I don’t try to figure too much out or think about my opponent. I just focus on what I want,” he said. “Too much thinking is going to wear you out before or during the fight. I get pretty emotionless. I don’t think emotions help in a fight or even in life. They can cloud your judgment or distort reality.”
After this fight, Loughran hopes to compete at least twice more in the next six months before he gets married. As far as future opponents are concerned, he has no expectations.
“I just let my coach and manager figure it out,” Loughran said. “I care to a degree. I want the fights to be against good opponents. The whole point of fighting is to challenge yourself [and] make yourself a better person, but I trust them to get the right fights.”