onor McGregor’s MMA champ sparring partner lifts lid on training with UFC star for return… and his famous left hand

MMA star Brendan Loughnane admits he had to pinch himself when he began training with Conor McGregor.

But before long, he was on the receiving end of the UFC legend’s famously powerful left hand.

MMA star Brendan Loughnane with Conor McGregor
MMA star Brendan Loughnane with Conor McGregorCredit: @brendanmma
The pair trained together in Dubai
The pair trained together in DubaiCredit: @brendanmma

The two linked up in Dubai IN November when McGregor was preparing to make his return to the octagon.

And Loughnane revealed it was a long time coming.

He said: “It was a bit of a pinch me moment.

“It was quite crazy because when I went to commentate in Dublin we’d never met at that point, I went down to the Forge and we met.

“We were talking and I said, ‘It’s nice to finally meet you.’ And he said, ‘We’ve never met?’ He couldn’t believe it either.

“We’d been talking back and forth on Instagram for a while and I said, ‘When you come to Dubai, let’s train.’

“And he did, he messaged me, we trained I think six weeks back to back, a couple of times at least five nights a week, sparring, training. And I really enjoyed it.”

Loughnane, 34, returns to the cage on Friday in Chicago, coincidently against McGregor’s training partner Pedro Carvalho, 28.

And he does so having been knocked out in his last bout in June.

So Loughnane wanted to experience McGregor’s feared southpaw left to knock some confidence into him.

Loughnane said: “I did, yeah! And I did feel it, a good few times on the chin.

“And to be honest, I was chin-checking anyway because of my last fight and I was thinking, ‘I wonder if this chin still works.’

“And there’s nothing like a McGregor backhand to see if it’s still happening and it’s still going and we’re still good.”

Loughnane in 2022 won the Professional Fighters League season at featherweight, scooping the $1million cash prize.

But he was knocked out by 2023 winner Jesus Pinedo, 27, and failed to qualify for last year’s knockout stages.

So he returns with a vengeance this year in his season opener against Carvalho, coached by McGregor’s trainer John Kavanagh.

And then Loughnane hopes to help McGregor, 35, in his UFC 303 return against Michael Chandler, 37, set for June 29.

He said: “Obviously now I’m fighting one of John’s guys, that’s put a bit of a spinner in the works for this camp.

“But after, I’d love to jump in to his Chandler camp and be around it in some capacity.”

Conor McGregor’s MMA champ sparring partner lifts lid on training with UFC star for return… and his famous left hand | The Sun

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