Sara McMann (Invicta FC)
Like anyone who has an interest in women's mixed martial arts, Sara McMann has an opinion on a potential superfight between Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and suspended former featherweight champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.
But the 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist has come to a conclusion that might surprise you.
McMann, whose name has been floated as a potential Rousey foe, isn't convinced that Rousey really wants to fight Cyborg.
She broke down her reasoning to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"I think Cyborg, 100 percent she wants the fight," McMann said. "I don't think it's as deep a desire on Ronda's end. She's down in a different weight class, and, you know, its a change I guess. Well, I don't see, if Cyborg did make 135, I don't think she'd be able to fight very well the next day. I could make 125, but I'd look like crap out there. I think [Rousey] wants her down at that weight because Cyborg would probably be weakened."
"If Ronda wants to fight someone, she's gonna fight her," said McMann. "She'll make noise, she'll appeal to the media. If she wants it, it can happen. She's already shown that, she is the MMA princess right now. When she wants it, she gets it. I can only conclude if she doesn't fight ‘Cyborg," she doesn't want to."
McMann made headlines this week when she was sent over to Strikeforce as part of its talent exchange with Invicta FC. Immediately, conjecture began that had McMann, a bantamweight, facing off against Rousey, the 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist.
But the idea is nothing new for McMann, who has heard the suggestion since before she turned pro.
"Pretty much since before I even decided to go, before I was even a pro fighter, people were suggesting this fight," she said. "[We] both came out around the same time, After a year, it was like ‘real original idea, thanks for informing me' because everybody, it kind of happened so frequently. It was like, ‘I better get used to it.'"
But McMann says she doesn't want a title fight just yet. She's not quite a year and a half into her pro career, and she's just beginning to square off against top fighters, with her victory over Shayna Baszler at Invicta 2 on July 28 the biggest feather in her cap so far.
She'd like to get more experience before being thrown into a title fight.
"I know it sounds kinda strange, but once you are the titleholder, the only fights you get are people who are marketable fights for title contention," said McMann. "But if you're not the No. 1 girl you can fight everybody, so I kind of hope I get more fights before I have the title, because otherwise I'll be a little bit more limited.
"I like to fight frequently, every time I learn so much from every single fight. I don't want to go six months to a year between fights. It could actually make me dislike doing MMA if I was only training all the time."
Part of McMann's desire to avoid a title fight for the time being stems from a desire to improve her all-around game. As a world-class wrestler with the sort of drive that lifted her all the way to the Olympic medal stand, it's a bit unsettling to find herself suddenly looking to catch up in other areas.
"Its more of being where I want to be as a world-class athlete in MMA," he said. "I can get probably get by in my fights only by utilizing my wrestling skills and control people because that's what I've done for 17 years. But, really I think the person who is at the top of the food chain should be someone more a GSP or an Anderson Silva, people who are complete fighters.
"That's just my own personal opinion about what I want to have for myself I don't want to get up there and have mediocre striking and passable jiu-jitsu. I want to be great at them. I think it's more of reaching a standard I have for myself."
McMann will continue to work on those skills while she waits to find out who will be her first Strikeforce opponent. In the meantime, she offers an opinion on who would win the superfight.
"That's tough that's a hard fight to call," she said. "If I'm being really honest, I think Cyborg would win it. I think she has the ability to stop the armbar and I think she has the tools. But, you know, I do have an enormous amount of respect for Ronda's takedowns and her armbar, so, it would be a very narrow margin on Cyborg's favor."
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