UFC women’s bantamweight title contender Sara McMann is in for the fight of her life when she squares off with Ronda Rousey in the main event of UFC 170 on February 22. The undefeated Olympic silver medalist wrestler is arguably the woman with the best chance to give Rousey a run for her money thanks to her extensive grappling background.
Despite being relatively inexperienced in MMA, McMann has several years of grinding athletic experience behind her. Rousey does as well, and “Rowdy” recently touched on how that gives her and McMann an edge over the other female combatants in the UFC.
While their records would indicate that to be true right now, Rousey and McMann can only focus on one another for the time being. The UFC 170 headliner from Las Vegas could end up being the most competitive title bout that the young UFC female division has ever seen.
McMann appeared at yesterday’s UFC 170 media luncheon to give her take on the level of competition created by Rousey and her being former Olympians (courtesy of MMA H.E.A.T.):
“You have to be prepared to win every single round and win every single position in the fight if you want to be the champion. I think that when you’ve been doing something, and it could be that you’ve been doing MMA for you know, 15 years, you can compete at such a pace that you really aren’t even thinking about what you’re doing. Your body and your muscle have such an ingrained pattern for you to do that really things happen because your body just does it. Your body doesn’t wait for your mind to catch up and process the information and then say to do it, because by that time that opportunity is gone. It just brings a different, higher level to things.”
With two opponents that have reached a transcending level of competing, their matchup should be quite the chess match. McMann moved on to discuss a bit of strategy at the scrum, specifically centered on her tendency to maintain top control as a wrestler:
“I think that in every single fight I’ve ever fought I typically like to be on top, so that doesn’t change anything from what I’ve done from the absolute beginning, is to have the fight go the ground on my terms.”
That’s where the struggle for position is going to originate at UFC 170, because all of Rousey’s armbar wins have come from top position. The fighter who can control where the bout goes on the ground is obviously going to have a big advantage. McMann hasn’t fought since defeating Sheila Gaff via TKO at UFC 159 last April, but she clarified she isn’t worried about coming back strong after training at such a high level for many years.
It appears that McMann is calm and focused on becoming champion. She isn’t the type to engage in a back-and-forth trash talking war with Rousey like Miesha Tate did. This bout is going to be all about the sheer level of competition, and it has the potential to be a great one. Do you give McMann a serious chance at dethroning the undisputed MMA queen?