Sara McMann‘s debut fight in the octagon was welcomed with some of the usual booing and scowling that fans seem to express when ever a fight goes to the ground.
While McMann prepared herself mentally for the fight, she still had lingering doubts about how much fun it would be to go through the usual rounds that every fighter must make during training camp. Regardless any doubts she may have had she managed to get a first round TKO against the German bantamweight Sheila Gaff during the UFC 159 Prelims.
“I think that I always like to err on the side of caution. So I told myself, it was going to be, ‘Ugh, your schedule’s going to be packed with media stuff. It’s going to be frustrating, and you’re going to have a hard weight cut.’ I kind of prepared myself for all of these inconveniences and tons of pressure and the crowd bothering me. I got that all in my head so that if happened, I wasn’t taken off guard.”
Coming up on a win with this mentality made that fight that much better. “I was really surprised how many things I really enjoyed.”
Regardless her athletic prowess was not instantly appreciated by fans when the booing began after her immediate takedown on Gaff. The pace of the fight appeared to stall and so did the fans; excitement. Yet instead of arguing with the fans McMann agreed stating she wanted a stand up to be called by the referee. “If someone is locking up my hands and I can’t free my hands, I’m like, ‘Yeah would you stand it up?’ I’d rather have a fresh start standing up.”
Those boos turned to cheers after a second take down where McMann scured a mounted crucifix followed by some damaging blows that led the ref to call a TKO stoppage at 4:06 in the first round.
Unlike most newcomers, the Olympic silver medalist said she had no UFC jitters, once on the mat all the natural instincts kicked in.