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Molly McCann on historic UFC London win: ‘I think I’ve finally earned my seat at the table’

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-London-McCann vs Cachoeira Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Molly McCann declared that she had been through “hell and back” after becoming the first English woman to claim a win in the Octagon at UFC London last weekend.

Her opponent Priscila Cachoeira certainly made “Meatball” work for the victory after landing a punishing right hook which fractured the Liverpudlian’s orbital in the final round of their clash.

Pictures of McCann’s ballooned eye socket went viral in the aftermath of her historic win, and even though orbital injuries can be troublesome, there’s no wiping the smile of the U.K. flyweight’s face since having her hand raised as a UFC fighter for the first time.

“I’ve never known levels of social media interaction as what I’ve had since post-fight, but everyone seems to be concerned, which is quite nice I suppose,” McCann told Eurobash.

“I had an operation yesterday. They’ve fixed the bone…something to do with the tear duct was a bit split and I had lacerations on my eyelid from where it was cut, so all of that got stitched up.”

McCann expects a minimum of a three-month medical suspension but underlined her will to get in and compete as soon as possible, citing the eleven-month gap between her first outing and her sophomore appearance in the Octagon.

“Everything is fine,” she said. “I’ll probably have a three month [medical] suspension until I get the all clear. I’m going to try get back for…I’m thinking August.”

“Until I have contact again [I won’t know]. I’m the kind of person that if you say it’s gonna take 12 months, I’m gonna try and get it done in six. Whatever they say, they say. I’ve just had 11 months out, I don’t want to be out for that long, but I think I’ve finally earned my seat at the table with that performance and they’ll look after me from now on.”

On a previous appearance on Eurobash, McCann outlined her struggles with anxiety and her focus on grappling following a submission loss to Gillian Robertsen in her debut. Having showcased many facets of her game in London, the Next Generation fighter evaluated her performance.

“If you hear when I go back to the stool, I was like, ‘Do you want me to go back in and take her down?’ [My corner] said, ‘No just wait; just wait until we say go.’ We thought I’d just keep feinting the takedown, cover the distance with a shot and then once you’re in unload because I’ve got the smallest reach in the division, so I’ve got to get it in somehow. I wanted to try and pick her off but I wasn’t able to do so because her reach was that bigger than mine, so I had to throw a lot of hooks and uppercuts when I was in range and they all seemed to land. I wanted to kick a lot more. I wobbled her each time a kick landed, but I wanted to follow it up with punches, but I couldn’t because she just pinged me. There was a lot of thinking on the spot,” she said.

“I showed that I’m an MMA fighter and not just a boxer who can sprawl. My transitions on the floor…I had the head and arm and I thought I could get it, but if I didn’t get it I thought my arms were going to be burned out and I needed them. So I thought I’d try and work to her back. I nearly had a sweep and I thought, ‘F*ck it, I’ll try for the armbar.’ Her arm…I felt it go crack, crack, crack. I went to [referee] Rich Mitchell, ‘It’s snapped…it’s snapped!’ But I told you, this girl is a Brazilian me, so she wasn’t going to tap.”

Although her durability is celebrated in the U.K., McCann acknowledged that she would be in a very different mood had she had to spend so much time in the hospital without coming away from the 02 Arena with a win.

“I was in the hospital with my mum and my coaches yesterday and someone text me saying, ‘Imagine if you had lost and you were sitting in that hospital,’ and I just thought, ‘Oh my god.’”

“I’m on cloud nine,” she added.

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Molly McCann interview begins at 45:00.