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22 Mar, 2019 16:41

'Meatball' Molly McCann vying to outdo Paige VanZant and Ronda Rousey as UFC 'poster girl'

'Meatball' Molly McCann vying to outdo Paige VanZant and Ronda Rousey as UFC 'poster girl'

While Molly McCann's face wasn't exactly picture-perfect following her hard fought win against Priscilla Cachoeira at last week's UFC London, the Liverpool fighter says that she can become the UFC's latest 'poster girl'.

Ronda Rousey, Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas and... Molly McCann? Liverpool fighter McCann, nicknamed 'Meatball,' says that she has everything it takes to become the UFC's latest hot commodity in the European market after becoming the first Englishwoman to register a win in the UFC's Octagon in London last Saturday.

McCann, a former champion in the regional European promotion Cage Warriors, came up trumps in a violent battle with Brazilian fighter Cachoeira inside London's O2 Arena, leaving the cage with her left eye badly swollen, after catching a flush strike from her opponent which shattered McCann's orbital bone, or eye socket.

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Despite her temporary cosmetic alteration, McCann says her mixture of high-level boxing and gritty determination can make her every bit as big a star as some of the most famous names in women's MMA.

"The UFC hasn't got a European poster girl," McCann said to the BBC. "They haven't got a British poster girl or an English poster girl until me."

"I just think I am the person that is going to make everyone follow it."

With her last fight in mind, it is difficult to argue otherwise. In just her second UFC appearance at the foot of last weekend's card, McCann took little time in getting the London crowd on her side, as she picked Cachoeira apart throughout three rounds – even when the grotesque swelling appeared on her brow. 

The victory was a transformative one for McCann, who was incredibly disappointed by coming up short in her UFC debut last May in her hometown of Liverpool. She is noted for giving up significant portions of her free time, volunteering to help people less fortunate than her - something she says she will once again undertake while she recovers from her eye injury.

"Maybe people don't see that side of me because I am just the loud 'Meatball' - but my life literally consists of the gym, coffee, vinyl and Everton Football Club, and it has been like that for about the past five or six years.

"I have been through quite a lot in the past few years, and especially the past 10 months since my last fight.

"There have been a lot of mental health issues and I have seen a lot of adversity in the past couple of years, so I think I would like to go and just help some other people."

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The UFC have never been shy to push athletes who they think can become big stars. Ronda Rousey became a household name due to her UFC run, eventually being featured in shoots by the likes of Sports Illustrated, while Paige VanZant (pictured above) has also followed suit. 

In McCann, though, the UFC have a very different type of personality on their hands but one who could hit those very same heights. Watch this space.