Molly McCann: Down But Not Out
Not everyone can be a UFC champion, only an extremely small percentage of fighters will even challenge for UFC gold. Success should not be defined by that climb to the mountain.
Molly McCann not so long ago was the number 14 ranked flyweight in the UFC and riding a three-fight win streak. McCann had a fight against Ashlee Evans-Smith scheduled for last March at UFC London. That fight was more than winnable, and if McCann had indeed emerged with her hand raised, fights with the elite of her division were imminent. A title shot was within reach.
But things have changed since last March, back-to-back defeats have stalled that momentum, but her UFC run so far is still one of success. The performance in her UFC debut against Gillian Robertson left her critics questioning her place on the roster. But not for the first time in her life, McCann made those that doubt, eat their words.
But the same critics will have resurfaced in the last few months, those two defeats to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio will in their one dimensional critique give them their validity. But even in defeat, McCann showed her growth as a fighter.
Santos looks a real problem for her fellow flyweights, that loss will look better in time. McCann had one very big moment against Procopio and the story could very easily have been different. A few years ago McCann would likely have been finished in both of those fights, there has been significant progress since that painful defeat in Liverpool in 2018.
But despite that progess, McCann is under no illusion that there is still much to do if she wants to remain relevant in the UFC. The Liverpool fighter is a born winner, the pain of defeat will be deep.
I still vividly remember being backstage at a Cage Warriors event in March 2018. McCann the previous month had been crowned that promotions new flyweight champion. But that wasn’t enough for her, McCann gave this passionate interview about wanting a seat at the table in the UFC.
The call would come soon after, but McCann quickly learned she needed to evolve her game. She has said in numerous interviews, that the journey to the UFC was on heart, a little harsh, but McCann knew she needed more.
The months that followed saw that evolution, the second of her three UFC wins was McCann at her finest. An almost flawless performance against Ariane Lipski showed her growth, and her underrated skills. That win should not be forgotten, it looks even more impressive now.
McCann might be down but she is most certainly not out. Many will write her off, but they need to be wary of writing their own final chapter. McCann says she still has plenty of fight left in her, and it would be extremely premature to call time on a MMA life that is still very much in it’s infancy.
Fourteen fights into her MMA career and being only 30, McCann is hardly at the point of no return.
McCann should be proud of her UFC run so far, but like she was back in that freezing cold London room in 2018, McCann wants more. There is still much more to come, a few more chapters to write in the McCann story of resilience. The year has started in defeat, but the ending could still be very different.
Molly McCann won’t run or hide, the current pain will drive and inspire her. Whatever the ending, we are nowhere near it just yet.
Photo Credit: Zuffa/UFC