Molly McCann: Resilience & Evolution

Molly McCann: Resilience & Evolution

On May 27th 2018, Molly McCann was still trying to process what had just happened to her. A UFC debut in front of her hometown fans had gone disastrously wrong. Caroline Pearce, microphone in hand, had the unenviable task of trying to interview an emotional McCann at her lowest.

It was a gut-wrenching interview, a fighter who had dreamed of this moment, was now trying to find the appropriate words as she bravely fought back the tears in the aftermath of a painful defeat.

At the time it was a horrible watch, but now that interview has a different meaning. It wasn’t the beginning of the end as many might have thought, it was a new beginning. Not for the first time, McCann had to show her incredible resilience.

McCann went away and evolved, three different Brazilian’s tried to stop that evolution, all failed. On July 16th, a fourth will try. Taila Santos (15-1) looking for her maiden UFC victory, will look to end the McCann win streak on UFC’s Fight Island.

Like many McCann opponents, Santos holds all the physical advantages, but to the Liverpool favourite, ‘it’s nothing new’ it seems to fit the McCann life and career narrative.

When the world stopped ticking over in March and it’s then restriction-free normality ended, McCann saw her scheduled fight with Ashlee Evans-Smith at UFC London, fall through in fight week. But she didn’t overindulge and let slip her recent considerable gains, the time in lockdown was invested wisely.

McCann heads to Fight Island mentally refreshed and looking to solidify her newly achieved UFC ranking. A win over Santos won’t necessarily elevate her to even greater heights in the UFC flyweight rankings. But it is a necessary step and it will protect her current spot and more importantly set up what lies ahead.

Valentina Shevchenko sits at the top of her division, but there is a frantic jostling for the positions below her. Santos, of course, will come with her own ambitions, and can’t and will not be overlooked, but McCann, if her hand is raised will look for the fights that will propel her to the upper echelons of the rankings.

The UFC apprenticeship will have ended, and McCann will have earned even greater tests later this year. I have always thought, even when she was the number 1 ranked flyweight, that Jessica Eye would be an ideal opponent for McCann. It’s these types of fights she needs and will have rightfully earned.

If Santos does leave the Island empty-handed, McCann should not be denied the opportunity to show just how good she is.

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