I remember when Lauren Murphy, 8-0, made her Invicta Fighting Championship debut against the one-woman Minnesota wrecking crew Kaitlin Young back in 2013.
It was the classic scenario of an experienced veteran going up against a how up-and-comer and Murphy came in with straight TKO finishes and a couple of regional MMA championships already under her belt.
Fast forward one year and Murphy, who has found more success in the Invicta FC cage – including becoming their first bantamweight champion – is now she’s set to make UFC debut against what has to be her toughest opponent to date. She will take on Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night 47, Aug. 16.
Over the summer McMann has been asking to fight Sarah Kaufman, who declined the challenge. At one point she even joked that no one would face her. Guess she was wrong.
Although fans consider Murphy the underdog, the Alaskan fighter is stranger to challenges. After she defeated Young, she beat Sarah D’Alelio – another veteran in the sport. She went on to fight Miriam Nakamoto for to determine the first Invicta FC champ. While Nakamoto suffered an injury in the fourth round – which gave Murphy the title. Still, she went 20 minutes against Nakamoto, something none of “The Queen of Mean’s” past opponents were able to do.
And now Murphy will face a new challenge. While Murphy has the advantage when it comes to striking, you can bet McMann will be working on her own stand up after losing to Ronda Rousey via TKO earlier this year. Murphy also has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu background, which she may need to use extensively if McMann gets to the ground.
Even though she’s a world champion, some fans and critics may not put Murphy near the top of the women’s bantamweight rankings because they solely look at UFC fighters. If she beats McMann, there is no doubt she’s earned a place among the best 135-pound fighters in the world.
Who do you think will win this fight? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @cagepagesfs.