Exclusives Interviews 14 March 2023

GRM Exclusive: Molly McCann Talks Female Participation in the UFC, Dream Fight Venues & Predictions for UFC 286

14 March 2023

Becoming an ultimate fighter is a battle of testing your own character, mixed with perseverance and skill. To then break through the hallowed doors of the UFC and become a mainstay within the division requires an elite mindset and a level of motivation parallel to a true champion.

Molly “Meatball” McCann has these attributes in abundance, and whilst some may see her as a veteran of the sport, her journey is far from complete as she looks to reign victorious in the highly competitive flyweight division. From newly crowned champion Alexa Grasso to the miraculous McCann, the flyweight division packs a punch wherever you look, and only fine margins separate those at the top.

Whilst a ring walk to the octagon on fight night can be seen as a daunting experience to some, Molly confesses proposing to her Fiancé and Drake backing her to win on the infamous Stake, have been the more nerve-wracking moments to recall in her life.

At 32, there is still longevity in her fighting career and a daring bucket list of goals to achieve. Whether it be conquering the Flyweight championship or battling at Everton’s soon-to-be stadium a length away at Bramley-Moore Dock, Molly McCann is dreaming big and will battle in her pursuit for success.

We caught up with Molly Mccann to talk female participation in MMA, UFC motivation, and an insight into next week’s blockbuster UFC 286!

You started the year off in the best way possible by getting engaged! How are you feeling and was this more nervous than entering the octagon?

“I was absolutely more nervous about proposing than I was ever going for a fight! Even more nervous than when Drake put 2.5 million on me and Paddy to win! Everyone knew but her, and we were away in Tenerife. Everyone knew to take her to the right place at the right time, and I bought the ring out there. It was a madness but I did it!”

Do you feel that there’s been an increase in female participation within MMA and UFC compared to when you first got into the sport?

“I can honestly say with every fight I’ve had in England and around the world that the level of females that come into our gym rises. I know I was the first English women to win in the octagon at UFC London and from that moment, my purpose changed! My goal changed from I want a house, car, or belt to how can I make more women and kids transcend into the sport?

“It’s very apparent that participation levels have increased. I’m a coach for the national team and the amount of female members have increased and the amount of people who want be like me. I don’t know why!”

At what age were you interested in MMA and when did you know you wanted to make it a career choice?

“I started two months before my 24th birthday. I was at university studying to be a P.E teacher and I was at a bar with a load of door men who were MMA fighters. They sent me home and told me to watch Ronda Rousey and said “You should have a go!” I would say 10 minutes after she got out of the octagon, I sent an email to my coach and said I want to be like that Ronda Rousey. Five years to that day of that email, I headlined the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool and I won a world title!”

You’ve already fought at iconic venues in 02 Arena and Maddison Square Garden. What venue has given you your best UFC experience and where would be your dream venue?

“I’ve fought in Boston, I’ve fought in MSG (Maddison Square Garden), I grew up watching Boxing so for me it was Vegas, MSG and Boston! I just want to travel. I’ve had more fights in America than in England! I’ve fought in the UAE before, and I wouldn’t mind Australia. Do you know where I would really like? Liverpool again, I would like to fight again at home.”

Leon Edwards said he would like to fight at Villa Park, would you ever fight at a football stadium?

“My goal is to finish in Boxing and to retire in this city. Everyone at Everton Football Club knows I want to fight at Bramley-Moore Dock. I can see it from my window the new Everton stadium being built! That’s my dream. Paddy wants it at Anfield and I wouldn’t say no because it’s still my city!”

UFC 286 takes place March 18th – What are your thoughts on the Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman trilogy and do you see the belt staying in England?

“I really believe in Leon. When you talk about the character of a man, he is good stuff. He’s quiet, not the loudest in the room but what he says carries weight. If you look at his performances, he’s not always been given the clout and respect that he deserves. I

“In our sport, sometimes ability doesn’t get you that. In that fight when he beat Usman, that was his moment. “Pound for pound, headshot!” The fight had to emulate his career and it’s crazy how it’s come around full circle for him. He’s going to do the business!”

UFC 285 was a success over the weekend. What did you make of the title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso?

“I thought Shevchenko was going to be a bit more aggressive. She was very passive and she’s a counter striker. Alexa Grasso is Mexico’s finest! She has a fighting spirit which you don’t find everywhere around the world. I’m happy that the belt will be moving about, the division needs that. It gives every single person a chance in the division.”

I’m going to touch on the loss to Erin Blanchfield – A win would have put you in title contention. What motivation do you take from this loss and how far away do you think you are from a title fight in the division?

“I feel with every lesson you have to find your blessing. I’ve said this repeatedly, I’ve handed out hidings to women! I’ve in turn received a hiding, and MMA is all about that. It’s never going to be one-way traffic. Whoever initiates their game plan first wins. I took from it that I can still travel around the world and have respect of people.

“In one fight, your whole life doesn’t change and I’ve done enough good in the sport to know that I have longevity in the sport. Your as good as your last performance. If I do a spinning elbow and submit her, everyone forgets about that.”

Do any names come to mind when you think of for your next fight?

“I have a date which the UFC will be announcing soon. I’ll be going into strict camp next week. I’m allowed Paddy’s Day and a Guinness and then that’s it! You will see the best Molly McCann that there’s ever been thanks to the hiding she received in the last fight!”

Molly McCann was speaking on behalf of the world’s premier MMA organisation, the UFC. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the UFC has been a global pioneer in sport and entertainment with key innovation in women’s sport. To find out more, please visit, https://www.ufc.com/30.”