After a relatively low-key beginning to her career inside the Octagon, former Cage Warriors champion McCann has burst into the mainstream conversation with a couple of viral victories in 2022.
While consecutive losses to Taila Santos and Lara Procópio left her position on MMA’s biggest stage uncertain, “Meatball” now sits with a long-term UFC contract, a lucrative deal with Barstool Sports, and a place in the 125-pound rankings.
How did she get there? Well, in addition to hard work and motivation, a mightily hard elbow…
The first victim this year was Luana Carolina, who was brutally knocked out at UFC London in March courtesy of a memorable spinning back elbow that will no doubt be among the Knockout of the Year candidates come the end of 2022.
Then in July, once again in England’s capital, McCann brought out the spinning shot to stun Hannah Goldy before finishing the American with a flurry of strikes.
Having secured a place in the rankings off the back of that triumph, the Liverpool native is looking to continue her charge up the ladder tonight at Madison Square Garden, where she’ll meet the in-form Erin Blanchfield on the UFC 281 preliminary card.
With her success this year, McCann has begun to realize her goals in the sport of mixed martial arts. And in line with her personality, “Meatball” never shies away from looking to help others who boast the same dream.
McCann: “Completely Give Yourself To It”
During a recent appearance on the Chattin Pony podcast, hosted by her friend and Next Generation MMA teammate Paddy Pimblett, McCann was asked by a fan what advice she’d give to aspiring fighters.
Rather than anything technical or skill-based, McCann focused on the mental barrier that some aspiring martial artists go through when attempting to join gyms. The Liverpudlian pointed out the importance of not giving in to certain stereotypes surrounding the environment created in MMA facilities.
“100% look… Just go online and see where’s closest to you, that’s what I did,” McCann said. “Just go and have a go. But completely give yourself to it. Don’t go in there with any pre-existing perceptions of what you think it’s gonna be like, ’cause it’s not. You come into our gym, no one’s like, ‘What are you looking at!’ We’re just having a laugh and dancing, to be honest.”
Agreeing with his teammate, UFC lightweight star Pimblett noted that joining a gym for the first time can often be seen as intimidating. However, when past that, he said the sport and training becomes a normal aspect of life.
“That’s what a lot of people are, they’re intimidated going into a gym. But if you find the right MMA gym, where people are nice and friendly, you’ll be sound,” Pimblett said. “Go and enjoy it, and it’ll just become another thing in your life that you can’t live without.”
Having found herself a home to hone her skills in her home city, McCann will look to put them on full display once again tonight when she makes the walk inside MSG. With another win, perhaps the New York fans will be treated to the kind of celebrations that “Meatball” has previously brought to London in 2022.
What do you make of Molly McCann’s advice?
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