Tom Duquesnoy

September 19 and BAMMA 22 draws nearer with BAMMA featherweight title holder Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy (10-1) ready to defend his 145lb title against top contender Brendan Loughnane (10-1) at the 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

The 22-year-old Frenchman takes on the British Ultimate Fighter veteran with significant demand for the bout to be made. Loughnane is the most highly rated challenger to date having put together a dominant run of five straight wins since his only career loss to Mike Wilkinson at “UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson” in 2012.

Despite the demand for BAMMA to have Loughnane challenge for the title, Duquesnoy still appears to be considered as the heavy favourite. The champion told MMA Plus that this will be confirmed on Sept. 19 and that he is fully prepared.

“I prepared this fight with all the seriousness that it needs, it was a long and hard preparation. I am now calm and wait to get in the cage with impatience.

“It is good that the public think I’m the favorite. I will confirm these thoughts next week in Dublin. I hope and believe that my opponent will come 100% prepared for us to deliver a memorable fight.”

For this bout Duquesnoy has joined a host of UFC standouts at the world renowned Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here he has been able to prepare and train alongside some of the UFC’s top names from the lighter weight classes. Duquesnoy was considered to be a highly talented fighter prior to joining the world class team, but now feels that the experience has allowed him to excel even further.

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by the best coaches in the world with Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn and Brandon Gibson, in probably the best team of the world, Jackson-Wink. The sparring is also with high level fighters like Diego Sanchez, Cub Swanson, Joby Sanchez, John Dodson, Timur Valiev, Damacio Page etc. Thanks to this I improved my level in all areas of the fight and in my vision of the combat. I think I’m more open to new combinations and generally more efficient than before.”

Prior to the Loughnane fight being made, Duquesnoy signed a fresh deal with BAMMA despite strong rumours that he was UFC bound. The BAMMA title holder confirmed with MMA Plus that he has been in contact with the UFC since last year, and he feels ready, but turned down the opportunity as he wishes to reach perfect form before making the jump.

“With Bamma we continue to grow together and I’m grateful they gave me the chance to fight, I will continue to be implicated 100% with them. It also represents the best organization in Europe and is gaining recognition across the Atlantic. We will cement the history.

“I think it’s been a while that I’m ready for the UFC, but for the sake of perfectibility I am interested in raising my level even higher to be on top of my ability. When you’re ready for pro, you start amateur, when you’re ready to be in the UFC, you pass pro and when you’re ready for the UFC belt, you start the UFC. This is a good expression isn’t it?

“I am in contact with the UFC since last year, our relations are good and they know that I will sign up when I’m at my best level.”

Photo by Jorden Curran