“I go back and forth on Ronda. I think [her success is] really good for the sport; I think it’s progressing things. I would prefer it in a little more respectful, or with a little more integrity, not quite so … I don’t know exactly how to put it, you know, with a little more class. You know, you can say, ‘I think I’m better’ than someone, you can say, ‘I have great skills,’ but you don’t have to cut other people down in order to make yourself bigger.”
The Winter Olympics are coming to an end, and the UFC is capitalizing on the momentum of the games by matching two Olympic medallists together in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 170 card. The UFC bantamweight champion, and Olympic bronze medallist, Ronda Rousey defends her title against Olympic silver medallist Sara McMann. It’s an intriguing match up on many levels – but none more so than the big question of the fight: who has the advantage on the ground?
Maybe a more specific question is, what background provides the bigger MMA advantage, wrestling or judo?
According to Rousey, the ground game won’t be an issue because she’s so confident in her stand up that this will be the first time she defeats an opponent via something else besides the arm bar. McMann hasn’t spoken much about her stand up ability, and perhaps that’s because her octagon début had her smash her way through Sheila Gaff via TKO. Problem is, Gaff isn’t Rousey. I’m not sure there is a more confident fighter in the game than Rousey. Her confidence can rub people the wrong way, but she is a fierce competitor who loves being the champion. Taking away that gold strap from her, won’t be an easy task. Is McMann ready to be that person?
It’s a tough question to answer because we have seen so little of McMann on the big stage. Her only fight and win, was an outstanding display of her MMA ability. On the surface, she looks much bigger and physically imposing than Rousey does, but the rowdy one has the kind of strength that is hidden. The problem with McMann’s game plan, is that while she may be able to take Rousey down, being able to do any damage on the ground without getting caught in a submission is another story.
McMann has the chance to go from Olympian to 1 fight in the UFC to a champion in that organization. That’s quite the meteoric rise for any athlete. Is she ready for the spot light?
Here lies the problem with Sara McMann – there are too many questions and not enough answers.