In less than a week, Sara McMann has the chance of a lifetime. She’ll step inside the cage against Ronda Rousey, in the main event of UFC 170.
Even though Rousey is the big favorite, McMann stands in a good position. No one expects her to win; her abilities are largely unknown, and Rousey has her mind on Hollywood and possibly Cris Cyborg.
All the focus leading up to Saturday’s fight centers on Rousey, the undefeated phenom who just destroyed Miesha Tate in December.
Sometimes the lack of expectation can open a door to reckless abandon. And if McMann expects to win, she’ll need to fight with ruthless aggression and reckless abandon.
In this age of UFC dominance, opportunities don’t come very often. It’s not like there are multiple places to jump around and win a title. In boxing, fighters can vie for the WBC, WBA or IBF championships.
In the UFC, it’s the UFC title or nothing.
Too many fighters perform below their capabilities when they finally get the big fight.
Look what happened to Gegard Mousasi last night against Lyoto Machida. He fought safe and paid the price; a decision loss. Dan Henderson did the same thing when he fought Machida. He fought safe and lost.
Gilbert Melendez played it safe against Benson Henderson and lost a controversial decision.
McMann needs to come through in a big way against Rousey, otherwise she’ll just be another secondary character in Rousey’s dramatic play.
McMann, an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, cannot expect to outwrestle Rousey for 5 rounds. Rousey will tap her out before McMann can get her back.
Rousey, an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, said after the Tate fight that she needs to learn to slow down. She’s always in a rush because in Judo she only has one minute rounds to score points.
The other fighters need to go faster. McMann needs to dig deep and find a way to go primal on Rousey. She may still lose, but at least she will be remembered and know that she left it all inside the cage. Even in defeat, Tate came out of her fight with Rousey a star.
Look at a guy like Wanderlei Silva. Why is he still around? He fights like a warrior, and win or lose, fans can respect him.
No one really expects much out of McMann. They know she’s a good wrestler, but no one thinks she has a chance.
McMann needs to take advantage of low expectations and surprise people with a fight that takes risks and doesn’t play it safe.