After a nearly three-year layoff, former UFC middleweight Nate Loughran made his return to MMA in March, defeating veteran Jamie Jara via unanimous decision at Cage Combat Fighting Championships: The Return.
While the bout didn’t exactly go how Loughran had intended it to, he’s still happy he was able to persevere against some adversity and get the win.
“He was a good stand-up guy and a southpaw, and I like to take it to the ground, and I took him down two or three times and he popped back up, so we banged it out and I won a decision,” said Loughran. “We basically did what he wanted to do, and I still go the win, so that was cool.
“I feel like I could do better, as usual. But because we didn’t do what I wanted to do, I feel good about it.”
During his time off, Loughran stayed active in MMA, so he didn’t feel rusty in the fight.
Loughran also used his break more so to enjoy the things in life he had been neglecting during his fight career prior.
“Part of the time I took off was learning other stuff, living my life. Before when I was within my career, I forgot you have to live during it. You want kids, you want a life, you want to know something other than fighting, so I just caught up on life a lot,” Loughran told MMAWeekly.com.
“I was still training, learning and all of that. I never really said I was retired, but I can definitely see why people thought I did.”
Eight months since his win over Jara, Loughran is once again ready to fight, this time taking on late replacement Kito Andrews at Tachi Palace Fights 17 on Thursday night in Lemoore, Calif.
“I think about what I’m going to do, what I want to do, and go towards my strengths, so the change (in opponent) didn’t change my game plan at all,” said Loughran. “I want to get the takedown and tap him out just the same.
“I think (Andrews) is a little bit lower level of a wrestler, a little better striker, and more athletic (than my originally scheduled opponent, Ricky Legere), but I feel that both of them gas, and that’s going to be a factor in the fight.”
Now that he’s back fighting more actively, Loughran’s goals are simple, keep fighting, winning and seeing where he fits among the top MMA fighters around.
“I’m the kind of guy who likes a challenge, so I want to go out there and see how good I am and where I stand,” he said.