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Molly McCann believes debut win sets up title date with Valentina Shevchenko in Moscow

Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors

Molly McCann has turned down offers to compete on The Ultimate Fighter in the past, but having won the Cage Warriors flyweight title in her last outing, “Meatball” thinks a convincing UFC debut in her hometown will earn her a title shot.

The Next Generation fighter is adamant that she will have an immediate impact on her new bracket and is confident that she would already beat current champion, Nicco Montano, if they were pitted against each other.

“I know that I’ve got a record that’s 80-percent better than the division,” McCann told MMA Fighting.

“My finishes are better than anyone else’s in the division. I’ve worked at this for a very long time and my fights outside of Cage Warriors were probably harder than some of my fights in Cage Warriors.

“I don’t want to come across as arrogant, but I’m ready to fight the world champion today and I’d be able to knock her out. I don’t think it’s going to take too long for me to get my world title in the UFC.”

Former strawweight queen, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, got her UFC callup following a KO win under the Cage Warriors banner. McCann expects to have a similar transition into the UFC fold.

“Joanna came from Cage Warriors and she wasn’t even a world champion. She had one fight, one knockout [in Cage Warriors] and then absolutely destroyed Carla Esparza, won the world title and retained it five times. What’s different about my situation?

“My dream was to win a world title in front of my home crowd in Liverpool and then to go on and win a UFC title. I don’t have to downplay my dreams at all. I will be a UFC champion and it’s going to happen quickly because it’s still a very new division,” she said.

“I can see the belt changing hands a few times before we find someone that can hold onto it. If I don’t get to it first, I think Valentina Shevchenko will and then I’ll be gunning for her.”

Shevchenko was heavily tipped to take the flyweight crown when UFC first launched the division. Ariel Helwani recently reported that UFC were trying to set a date between Montano and Shevchenko for UFC on FOX 30, but nothing about the fight has been set in stone just yet.

With the status of Montano’s return being up in the air due to injury, McCann is confident that “Bullet” will get a chance at taking flyweight gold in Russia this September, and she’s more than willing to fight the Muay Thai champion for the division’s most coveted prize.

“I think that Valentina will fight for the UFC’s flyweight title in Moscow in September, if not the title, it will be for the interim title. I’ll be a ready for a call up if she needs an opponent for that fight,” McCann said.

“If I perform the way I think I will, then I’ll be in for a shot at that title next. I always perform for big moments like this. It’s all written in the stars, I think it’s the way it’s meant to be and that’s the way it feels like it’s going. The only people in this division that can give Valentina a fight are me, Barb Honchak and Sijara Eubanks.”

A lot of the talk surrounding UFC Liverpool is focused on how the promotion is trying to build Darren Till as a star. As far as McCann is concerned, she has the same opportunity to show the world what she is all about on Sunday night at the Echo Arena, and former WBC cruiserweight champion, Tony Bellew, seems to agree.

“Tony Bellew said something to me last week, he said, “Go and steal the show”, and that’s what I plan on doing. I’m going to shout from the rooftops so people will know what’s going to happen next.”

McCann has already been victorious three times at the Echo Arena. Most notably, she put on a showcase on route to claiming the Cage Warriors title against Bryony Tyrell three months ago at Cage Warriors 92.

The experiences have made “Meatball” very confident that she will be able to fight through anything Gillian Robertson can throw at her in her hometown.

“Everyone knows that I always go in there to fight. I’ll fight to the last second of every round and I’ll give it everything I’ve got. You can take me down, you can try hold me down, but when I’m in that Echo Arena and all the chips are against me, I still have that crowd and that’s like having an extra life. It gives you that extra push,” she remembered.

“There’s been times in fights where I’ve thought I’ve been done and then I hear the noise in that arena and I think ‘Get the f*ck up and absolutely bladder this girl for taking you down’, and that’s exactly what I did.”