Liverpool-based UFC star Caolan Loughran says he is “living the dream” after winning in Atlantic City.

Loughran moved to Merseyside from Kildress, Ireland to pursue his dream.

Four years ago, he was still pulling pints. But recently he had his hand raised in the UFC for the first time.

Loughran defeated Angel Pacheco by majority decision last month.

The fight took place at the iconic Atlantic City Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. He spoke of his fight-week experience.

“I just try to focus on the guy I’m fighting, I don’t see any benefit to focusing on anything other than him (opponent).

“If you start letting them things in your head, I don’t think you’re cut out for this game.

“The build-up to it was cool; Vegas is every fighter’s dream but America in general.

“Atlantic City was the weirdest place I’ve ever been; you go to the casinos and it was rammed and then you leave and there was no one there. The shopping malls; it was literally empty.

“The actual arena; to fight in a place like that was just unbelievable. All week, we were in the hotel watching all the fighters (that had fought there).

“Roberto Duran, Gatti versus Ward was there, and Mayweather came up there.

“It is a very very historical arena. You walk in and you can feel it, you can smell it. It was the best arena I’ve ever seen.”

Despite impressing in his most recent rout, the 27-year-old tasted defeat in his UFC debut.

Although the result was not what he had planned, he went viral in the build-up taunting French MMA fans in the build-up.

Loughran visualised his victory in the days and weeks before fight night which allowed him to feel comfortable on fight night.

“I had a step back in competing which I never wanted to do. Lessons have been learnt. On day one in a jujitsu class you put your arm out and you learn.

“I was able to vividly put myself in the UFC; with 20,000 around the Octagon.

“I’d already seen Bruce Buffer. It was nothing new. I had a seven-month gap outside the cage, I don’t want that again. That was probably needed.”

Loughran is part of a stacked Bantamweight decision. The flamboyant champion Sean O’Malley currently reigns supreme although Loughran has the top ten on his future radar.

“I just think if I was fighting Corey Sandhagen, Merab (Dvalishvili) or (Sean) O’Malley; what do they look at and how would they try to beat me?

“There were so many things I did wrong that a good guy would capitalise on but that’s just the game – you learn.

“I was walking around my head (after the first defeat) a loser. I had never lost a professional round. About 1,000 people told me I won.

“It was good for peace of mind to get the hand raised in the UFC. I can’t be too hard on myself.

“I currently hold the record for the most significant strikes to the head by any fighter in the UFC this year. There are more positives and negatives but there’s always stuff to work on.”

‘The Don’ admitted he struggled to sleep after his victory despite going the full three rounds in the cage.

“I never sleep the night of a fight; you are on too much of a high. Competition is a drug. It’s a high.

“I try not to get too high in the highs and too low in the lows. It’s on to the next one.

“Me, my girlfriend and a couple of close friends went up to New York the next day. Good times to enjoy it.

“I enjoy having this life, being fit to train knowing I have a win. This is living the dream. Getting to continue the journey is enjoyable.”

Obvious comparisons to fellow Irishman Conor McGregor have already been made.

‘Notorious’ has, no doubt, helped young Irish fighters. The former two-weight UFC Champion is set to headline UFC 303 on June 29th, a date that may come too early for Loughran.

“It would be hard to say no to the McGregor card because of the eyes. But, I would like (to feature) in Manchester.

“There will be a lot of eyes. It is also very accessible for friends and family in Ireland.

“I have big support all over Ireland; Dublin, Belfast, Derry these boys will come to the fight. It’s going to be a pay-per-view.

“I can do my whole camp here and spin 30 minutes on the road then be there. Dana (White) hasn’t fully announced it but I know it is on July 20th. If the McGregor card comes up, that would be cool.

“However, Conor (McGregor) does not see eye-to-eye with me at the minute. It would still be a dream come true.

“Irish people just love a rip (party) and McGregor put a lot of spotlight on the UFC.”

The Bantamweight contender will stay true to his Irish roots explaining how his walk-out song will remain the same throughout his career.

“My walkout will never change, it’s Dreams by the Cranberries. It just hits differently for me. I am literally living the dream.

“The Cranberries are an Irish band from Limerick and then turn it into some kind of beat. Love it.”

Loughran still has his peak years ahead of him but spoke of life after fighting. When he hangs up the gloves he intends to live a quiet life.

“We’ve got a big farm there and someone will have to take over. I don’t know if I’d be the best at it yet, maybe I’d have to learn. The main thing I’d want to have is a bar.

“There’s a bar I’d want to buy but it’s a family bar and I don’t ever think they (the current owners) would let me buy it.

“And a Cafe, I’d like to start that next year; in Liverpool and Northern Ireland.”