Five Names That Make Sense For Molly McCann Next
By James Lee
Last Wednesday saw Liverpool’s Molly McCann fall short on Yas Island. The flyweight fighter had her flourishing period broken by Taila Santos after victories over Priscila Cachoeira, Ariane Lipski and Diana Belbita. The decision loss ultimately ended a three-fight win streak for McCann.
Although now coming off a loss, a wide variety of future options exist that could be of interest to both her and the fanbase. A defined group of female 125 lbs contenders has been established fully due to the division’s youthful nature, and because of that, several options make sense for McCann’s next outing.
Here are the top five most appealing names.
1. Antonina Shevchenko
The sister to the division’s champion and a narrative McCann could use to jump ahead of a significant number of contenders.
Much like the Next Generation fighter, Antonina is shares striking as her priority, but with a different style that could make the fight the most exciting match-up in the flyweight division.
A fight with Antonina Shevchenko would set up a perfect narrative in that the champion Valentina would have the opportunity to avenge her sister’s loss and defend her title in a well-promoted fight for the division later down the line.
Although the potential contest would pose the biggest test of her career, it would be one with the greatest consequential reward.
2. Maycee Barber
Once dubbed the biggest prospect in female mixed martial arts, Maycee Barber could be the ideal next opponent for ‘Meatball’.
The 22-year-old has impressed the fighting world since her arrival to the UFC and was similarly on a three-win streak in the UFC before losing her last fight.
Barber is still somebody the whole fighting world is watching out for therefore the winner would be awarded reignited momentum, but most importantly, McCann would be afforded increased publicity.
Barber suffered an ACL tear in January so is due a significant recovery. Scheduling the fight towards the end of the year would give McCann time to regroup after her loss and Barber a chance to fully recuperate.
3. Gillian Robertson
A second fight with Gillian Robertson is one McCann might want to move on from or rectify.
The American submitted McCann in the second-round in May 2018, halting the dream debut for ‘Meatball’ in front of a home Liverpool crowd.
The rematch would be a chance for redemption. As both are now unranked, the fight could bode well in deciding who earns a ranked spot and would allow McCann to avenge that painful loss from her record. Little perhaps lies in the rematch for Robertson, but the former Cage Warriors champion is undoubtedly a notable name in female mixed martial arts and would attract much-needed attention to the American.
4. Lauren Murphy
Murphy is perhaps the least appealing name from the list, but the most significant in terms of rankings. A win for McCann would ensure her place in the top ten of the division and diminish that last performance from her memory.
Although Murphy is unlikely to want an unranked opponent considering she holds the number five spot, McCann holds a relatively prominent name for the division, even more than some fighters ranked higher.
The Liverpool fighter perhaps deserves that step up anyway as she received little push when she was on a three-fight win streak, failing to receive a ranked opponent.
The American is a veteran of the sport and could be deemed the most appealing option in being able to match her in the striking realm. It would not be the most lucrative fight, but it would ensure progress.
5. Liana Jojua
Perhaps the most realistic option and one that makes sense in terms of timing. As McCann fell short to Taila Santos last week, Liana Jojua submitted Diana Belbita in the first round. Interestingly, McCann’s last victory was against Belbita also, making the pair similar in terms of their standings at 125 lbs.
Jojua is relatively young in the progression of her professional career and after a debut loss in the UFC, a fight with McCann would hold importance to both with the winner likely to progress towards the top fifteen rankings.
For McCann, Jojua amassed some attention after her win so the opportunity to bounce back and take that hype from the Russian fighter could be ideal.