Molly McCann Interview
By Jon Prentice
UFC Fight Night 130:
Thompson vs Till fight week is upon us and today I got the opportunity to catch up with home town favourite Molly McCann (7-1-0) ahead of her UFC debut against Canadian counterpart Gillian Robertson (4-2-0) in a flyweight showdown.
Shortly after defeating Bryony Tyrell to win the Cage Warriors flyweight belt back in February, again in her home city of Liverpool, McCann received the news that she had been signed by the UFC and was slated to fight in front of her home fans once again. Having previously had difficulties in finding opponents willing to take her on, the call up to the UFC has given McCann a full fight camp and the opportunity to enter her UFC debut fully prepared:
“I was still ticking over after winning the title so I haven’t had too much time off really, it was just a case of getting back on the diet really, and knowing who am I fighting for so long, I have never really had that luxury before really. It is quite hard to match me so I only get about 3 or 4 weeks notice of who I’m fighting, but this time I have had just under two months to work on a game plan to beat the girl who I’m going to fight so my mind is at ease and I know what is required to get the win. I am buzzing!”
Making her UFC debut in her own back yard of Liverpool is something that clearly fills McCann with immense pride, something she stated “words can’t describe” during the interview:
“Imagine I used to fight in sports halls and I wasn’t even allowed in gyms. 3 months ago I won the belt in my hometown, a world title, and then how do you beat that? You beat that by making your UFC debut in front of your hometown also.”
However, McCann was quick to point out to me that despite making the debut in her hometown, she will be fully focused at the task at hand and she won’t be letting the occasion distract her from getting the win:
“Nothing is going to be a shock and nothing is going to be out of the blue because I have fought there a number of times. The crowd is going to be a little bit bigger and it is a bigger stage to compete on. It’s a really nice relaxed vibe and there is no pressure going into it.”
Having only made her professional debut in 2015, McCann has already amassed a record of 7-1, with 4 of the wins coming by the way of stoppage. She has already gained a multitude of fans through her exciting style and it is a familiar name that introduced McCann to the world of MMA to begin with:
“I basically went on a night out, came home and Ronda was fighting Liz Carmouche for the inaugural UFC belt and the next day I sent Paul Rimmer (Next Gen MMA head coach) an email saying ‘hey mate I’m going to be like that, I will see you on Monday’. Then 5 years to the day I won a world title in my hometown. I am a product of her.”
McCann was also quick praise the influence of fellow UK athletes for her growth in the sport:
“You have still got the likes of Joanne Calderwood and if you take MMA out of the equation, before MMA I boxed and a big part of that was down to Katie Taylor and the girls from Liverpool.”
McCann’s opponent on the night, Gillian Robertson, will be making her second UFC appearance having previously defeated Emily Whitmire via submission at the TUF 26 finale. This followed an unsuccessful stint in The Ultimate Fighter house, losing her opening bout to Barb Honchak via TKO. Despite a formidable amateur record, Robertson is 4-2 as a pro and McCann is confident she will be able to nullify Robertson’s grappling and finish her opponent:
“For me I know that she is more than beatable. She has been finished so I know that I am going to be able to finish her. Her strengths are her grappling and jiu jitsu, my strengths are obviously my striking and my takedown defence. As long as I keep it standing I am going to knock her straight out and if we go to the floor I am going to jump back up and then knock her out. I don’t see any other way than a left hook, right hook or uppercut putting her to sleep.”
McCann, known for her ultra aggressive style, thanked the sole loss on her professional record, via decision to Vanessa Melo in Brazil at XFC International 12, for the way she fights. She went on to describe her style as “kill or be killed”, and it was the controversial nature of her single defeat that made her adopt the mentality:
“My loss, I flew to Brazil on my own to compete on a promotion called XFC. I was really robbed of a decision but for me what I learnt from that was I have to take the fight to my opponent every time, as aggressive as I was before that fight now, it’s like kill or be killed.”
McCann then went on to quote the famous Muhammad Ali quote “only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even” before describing how she never wants to experience that losing feeling again:
“I never want to feel that ever again. I don’t feel like I am finishable, I won’t be knocked out and I won’t get submitted. The only way I would lose is by freak injury or an accident in the cage I believe. She (Robertson) has a similar record to me but she has been beaten and given up in the cage. When she fought Barb Honchak she gave up, so I know when she is under the cosh, she’s not going to be able to withstand the pressure I am going to give.”
Despite not taking her opponent lightly, McCann already has plans outlined for how the future is going to play out if she gets the win this weekend.
“You know I feel like I have had about 6 fights in about 14 or 15 months. I am going on holiday two weeks after the fight then we will go back to the drawing board but I feel like I am on a level where I would fight Valentina Shevchenko on the September Moscow card if that were to be the case. If not someone like Lauren Mueller from Dominick Cruz’s gym in California (Alliance MMA). I’m up for anyone, I only need a weeks notice to get the weight off and I will go anywhere. When you are in the UFC the call is there and you have to go do it.”
Before getting back to her final fight week preparations, McCann gave her thought’s on the impact fellow Liverpudlian Darren Till has had on the city, and how she thought would fare in the nights main event:
“100% Darren Till will get the win. I go to bed every night watching the UFC and he is someone who I watch quite a lot. He is doing big things for the city and he has brought positive light to the sport and to our city. There is something special about him, anyone can be a fighter but I feel like you are born with that finishing power, knowing when to go, knowing when you are going to get that finish. He smells it, he waits for it and when he sees it he is like a shark to blood he is straight in there. I would love nothing more than for him to get the first round KO and for him to feel what me and my training partners Paddy (Pimblett) and Chris (Fishgold) all felt, to get the finish in the arena. It would be nice for him to get the finish to know what that feels like also.”
In what should be a monumental night for the city of Liverpool, McCann’s UFC debut will no doubt be an exciting and enthralling encounter from the first bell to the last. A big thank you to Molly McCann for taking the time out during fight week to talk to us.
UFC Fight Night 130: Thompson vs Till goes down from the Echo Arena in Liverpool on May 27th 2018.