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The guy Dana White screwed on ‘Contender Series’ is now a million-dollar champion for PFL — ‘Who would I rather be?’

“I think the world of MMA, everyone is catching up to each other now and it’s getting extremely competitive. It’s a great time to be an MMA fighter. There’s options everywhere now.” —Brendan Loughnane

Featherweight phenom Brendan Loughnane captured a unanimous decision victory over Bill Algeo on Season 3 of Dana White’s “Contender Series” back in June 2019, but failed to secure a UFC contract because of a strategically-timed takedown attempt late in the final frame.

“You’ve got 10 seconds left in the fight. Show us you want to win. Show us how bad you want it,” White previously told ESPN. “You don’t double-leg when the 10-second thing claps. That’s not what I’m looking for. If I’m wrong, he’s a free agent. Somebody else can pick him up, and according to the people who are complaining about it, it must be a big score. So, go for it.”

PFL took White’s advice and went for it.

The result was a sensational 9-1 record, a featherweight world championship, and the $1 million prize that came with capturing the 2022 tournament. Loughnane, 33, returns to PFL for the 2023 season against Jesus Pinedo this Thurs. night (June 8) in Atlanta.

“I think about the guy I fought that night, Bill Algeo, he just signed another five-fight deal [with UFC] and he’s got a few wins he’s put together,” Loughnane told MMA Fighting. “But it’s like who would I rather be right now? Would I rather be me or would I rather be Bill? I’d rather be me. I’m making really, really good money. I’m a champion. I’m getting the respect that I deserve from the sport.”

Algeo, 33, signed with UFC in summer 2020 and has since put together a 4-3 record. “Senor Perfecto” was last seen scoring a submission victory (rear-naked choke) over T.J. Brown as part of the UFC Kansas City “Prelims” card last April in Missouri.

“UFC is a machine and they are the premiere organization,” Loughnane continued. “They built the sport in a lot of aspects but now Bellator has gotten an incredible roster. PFL has an incredible roster. Any champion from the PFL, any champion from Bellator and any champion from the UFC and even ONE [Championship], they could all fight each other and it would be mixed results. I don’t care what anyone says, it really would be.”

PFL heavyweights will have a chance to prove that when former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou debuts in 2024.

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