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Molly McCann down to fight Valentina Shevchenko if Taila Santos drops out: ‘I would love to be like Michael Bisping’

Molly McCann looked like a world beater after knocking out Luana Carolina — and she’s ready to take on seemingly insurmountable odds next.

A spectacular spinning elbow knockout win over Luana Carolina this past Saturday at UFC London gave McCann her second straight win and her fifth in her past seven appearances. While she’s yet to make a significant impact in the rankings, the English fighter’s performance drew one of the loudest reactions from the crowd in The O2, which may convince the matchmakers that she’s ready for bigger and better things.

In the aftermath of her win, McCann declared on The MMA Hour that she’ll be willing to take on UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko next if the call comes for her to save Shevchenko’s upcoming title defense on June 11 at UFC 275.

“I’m bulletproof in here now,” McCann said. “And I wasn’t until the [Ji Yeon] Kim fight in September, but this really solidified now — I am the business, and when I believe I am, you get them kinds of performances. If I’m someone who can give an emotional performance every single time, and when you get the good emotion out of me, you get world-class performances — it just takes time to get that and to get it right, and I feel the stars have aligned for me.

“I feel like I’m coming into my prime and I’m starting to get there. The press have said a lot of stuff and the media have said a lot of stuff about me going for the belt, this, that, and the other, but I just know normally I would be drinking a lot more alcohol and eating a lot more s*** food, but not now. I will always be training, I won’t be taking time off. I’m really, really focused about coming for that belt and I’m not gonna be calling Shevchenko out, but if [Shevchenko’s scheduled opponent] Taila Santos gets an injury or anything like that in June, I’m over here.”

McCann leapfrogging Santos in the contenders’ line would be a coup given that Santos defeated McCann by unanimous decision back in July 2020. Santos followed that nod with three more victories to make herself the No. 1 contender to Shevchenko’s crown.

Though McCann would likely open as a huge underdog to the champion — as most of Shevchenko’s opponents do — she doesn’t understand why anyone would think it’s a crazy idea for her to jump on the short-notice opportunity.

“I feel like anyone anyone in the division should,” McCann said. “If you wouldn’t jump at the opportunity then what are you doing? I would love to be like Michael Bisping.”

Bisping famously won the UFC middleweight championship in his 26th appearance for the promotion, defeating Luke Rockhold by first-round knockout on short notice to become one of the most unexpected titleholders in UFC history. He became the promotion’s first British champion — and McCann would like to join him on that list.

McCann’s UFC record stands at 5-3, but despite some tough losses, she’s putting all doubts aside, both her own and the public’s.

“I’d like to fight anyone,” McCann said. “I feel like now people are gonna ask for me. I’m never one to ask for anyone because they’ll probably give me another Brazilian, to be honest, because they just love that. But in order to become the best, you have to beat the best, so our division is that good. I literally said post-fight I respect every single woman in the 125-pound division, and my performances are just getting better, so I’m not really scared. There’s not a style I’m apprehensive of.

“I was told online that my opponent had a more diverse skill set and I was gonna get submitted. A lot of people put that online. I shut her jiu-jitsu down, out-wrestled her, and beat someone with better range with an elbow. People just need to put a bit of respect on my name, I think.”

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