But she also knows she can’t bring that knockout into the octagon with her this Saturday when she fights Hannah Goldy at UFC London. Ahead of the event, McCann was asked if she had to put her finish of Luana Carolina behind her — and her response was emphatic.
“One-hundred percent,” McCann said. “That spinning elbow means f*** all on Saturday, doesn’t it? That’s not going to win me the fight, living off the last fight. What it has done is given me the belief, it’s given me the mental fortitude more to come into this one and know really what I’m capable of.
“I think you all may have seen last time I was here; I was calm, I was collected, I had my odd little jokes and my swear words here and there, but I’m really finding my feet within the UFC now, and I just want to show consistency.”
McCann has now won two straight fights and is riding a 5-2 mark in her past seven fights to the edge of contention. She also holds notable wins over Ji Yeon Kim, Ariane Lipski, and Priscila Cachoeira.
However, for many fans, “Meatball” didn’t truly emerge as a dark horse contender until she connected with that once-in-a-lifetime elbow knockout of Carolina. The fact that it happened in front of a raucous London crowd helped to make the clip truly viral.
“It kind of blew up, didn’t it?” McCann said. “The internet kind of blew up off that elbow, and for me, it just solidified I am who I say I am. Prior to the UFC, I had finishes and really nice ones with my hands, and this time I just got that moment where everyone got to really realize, ‘F***, that is what she is about.’
“So moving forward from that — sometimes in a loss you have to take more lessons, but in that win I think I learned more lessons than the previous losses that I’ve had. I’ve went away and I’ve worked so hard on my grappling, even though it was the striking that won me the fight.
“I just want to keep on evolving and keep on getting better as a mixed martial artist, and I think I just reiterate what I said before — my feet are cemented into the floor, it’s not gone to my head. I’ve gone from the ‘I just want a bevvy game’ to the elbow game, and I wonder what we’ll get on Saturday night, what happens next.”
McCann has known fame in the past, having been signed to the UFC in 2018 after a knockout of Bryony Tyrell that won her a vacant Cage Warriors title. She fell short in her UFC debut to veteran Gillian Robertson, and it was results like that which prevented her head from getting too big.
“I think notoriety and all of that kind of thing means f*** all,” McCann said. “I’ve learned that none of it is real. Just because I can go out and more people know my name doesn’t really change me as a person, it doesn’t change my life. It doesn’t change my family’s life. Liverpool’s got a really good way of sometimes keeping you humble. I can walk in that gym every day and be humbled by my training partners. My mom, my family, my girlfriend, everyone on the bus, they joke all the time, just because I fight it doesn’t mean anything.
“I’ve tried to be more of a role model and less of just a bevvy head. I’ve tried to drink less and do more for my community since getting more notoriety, so I think that always keeps you humble. Through all of this journey and through everything and through the last fight I’ve just realized I just want to be world champion. I just want to be a world champion again, and I can’t look too far in the future. I just have to take every day and every fight as it comes. Like I say, I can’t live off that performance forever, can I? I need to make sure that the next one outdoes that. However the finish might not outdo that last one, the fighting IQ and the decision making should and will.”
No matter how successful McCann is going forward, her famous knockout will be replayed ad nauseum in UFC highlight reels until the end of time. As nice as that sounds, McCann’s focus remains on fighting her way to a world title opportunity and claiming the gold.
In the grand scheme of things, her previous UFC London win is already a blip, while her upcoming UFC London fight and the fights still to come are framed front and center.
“I’m Molly McCann, that’s normal in my life,” McCann said. “Nothing’s ever been normal in my life. I felt more happiness in all honesty since all of that, because I think if you feel fulfilled and have lived up to your potential — I don’t feel like I’m touching my potential yet, but I’m throwing steady growth towards where I need to be. I think the hardest part is learning to say ‘no’ and not giving too much of myself, which in this fight camp I’ve also learned to do. I have done nothing but eat, sleep, and train.
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And if I’m honest with my goals and my dreams and my ambitions of being a world champion, then I can’t run away. Like I keep saying, that elbow will probably get sketched on my gravestone and my ‘I just want a bevvy’ quote will be there, but it doesn’t mean anything, in all honesty.”