The former UFC bantamweight title challenger earned a unanimous
decision triumph against Arlene
Blencowe in a 145-pound clash at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center
in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was also the Bellator debut for the Olympic
silver medalist, who left the UFC after compiling a 7-6 mark in the
Las Vegas-based promotion from 2013 to 2022.
“It wasn’t as big of a difference as I thought,” McMann said of the
change in weight class. “[Opponent Arlene
Blencowe] is on caliber with all the girls I fought in the UFC.
What a freaking introduction to a new promotion. I got one of the
toughest chicks here.”
McMann relied on her takedowns, pressure and clinch work to control
the first two rounds, but she had to survive being rocked early in
Round 3 before making it to the final bell.
“I flashed for a second, but I did that in the first two rounds
when she connected,” McMann said. “She hits hard. I didn’t feel any
worse in the third. When she connected in the other two rounds, I
felt both of those, too.”
While it was a pretty clear-cut victory for the 42-year-old South
Carolina native, McMann still saw room for improvement.
“I really wanted a lot more offense than what I did,” she said. “In
my head, I scouted her. I knew how tough she was. I just expected
the fight to be at a high, hard pace. Either she was going to set
it or I was, but I knew she was game for it.”
With the win, McMann instantly becomes one of the top contenders in
the promotion at 145 pounds. McMann has already fought some of the
biggest names in the sport in the UFC, including Ronda
Rousey, Miesha Tate,
Nunes and Julianna
Pena. It should come as no surprise she has her sights set on a
showdown with Cristiane
Justino, but it remains unclear when “Cyborg” might return to
defend her title.
“I think that it would be great to beat Cyborg to be the Bellator
champion,” McMann said. “When I came to this division, that is what
I set my heart on. That, to me, is such a worthy accomplishment,
you know? I have total respect for her, and I still want to beat
her. But if she’s making different decisions as far as financially
or what direction, I can’t sit around and wait.
“I’m not 22, I’m 42. I’m going to fight who they put in front of
me, and the division shouldn’t wait for her forever. She’s a
dominant champion, but they should have a real belt after a certain
period of time, and then she should have to come back and earn the
belt. For me, I think of it as, ‘I’ll fight her sooner, or I’ll
fight her later.’”
Bellator Featherweight Division Shouldn’t Wait on Cyborg Forever