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Molly McCann says she chose MMA as path to become professional boxer was not there

Molly McCann is in UFC Women's Strawweight division and has been a professional since 2015, winning 13 of her last 18 bouts; Watch all-female card on ONE Championship live on Sky on Saturday

molly mccann
Image: Molly McCann says the opportunity professional boxer was not there at her weight division

Molly McCann says the path to becoming a professional boxer was not there for her at a young age as she opted for the "next best thing" in MMA, but is proud of how the sport has grown to include women.

McCann, nicknamed 'Meatball', has had a successful MMA career, remaining unbeaten as an amateur fighter before turning professional in 2015 and making her Octagon debut in 2018.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News, McCann says she originally pursued a career in boxing and given the opportunity, she would love the chance to transition to the sport once again.

"I started with amateur boxing," said the 33-year-old. "I won a national title and unfortunately for me, the route at my weight wasn't there at international level and at the Olympic level. So, I thought, what's the next best thing? Go to MMA.

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McCann gives her view on whether Francis Ngannou could shock Anthony Joshua ahead of their clash on Friday evening and answers if she would ever make the move to boxing as well

"Then seeing it all now and what Eddie [Hearn], Ben [Shalom] and Frank [Warren] are doing, they let the women [perform], they give them a good space. The money is getting better, fights are getting bigger, stadiums are getting more packed, I would absolutely love to get involved."

Asked if there was any fighters she would like to compete against, McCann said: "I reckon Alycia Baumgardner, I wouldn't mind fighting her. She's closer to my weight, I know Ebanie Bridges will be there and there about, she'll be around my weight as well.

"I'm not taking my eye off the prize, and I need to go and win the belt in that division first. But I'm aware that time isn't on my side and I'm getting old now, I'm in my prime and I would hit boxing on the descent."

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Francis Ngannou has been one of a few names making the transition from MMA to boxing, but the path to go from boxing to MMA has been less apparent, with McCann expressing the transition from one Olympic sport to four is a major challenge and time consuming.

But McCann has supported Savannah Marshall, who signed with PFL back in August, to make a successful move to MMA.

Savannah Marshall
Image: McCann has supported Savannah Marshall, suggesting she is one of few that can make the transition to MMA

"I've known Savannah Marshall since I was 16 and when we used to box together," said McCann.

"I remember when I was doing MMA she was like, 'why you doing that?' And I was like, 'it's because it's going to be the next big thing'. She used to come down and train and she was so intrigued by the Jujitsu.

"She was like, 'it's too hard for me, I haven't got time' and she's obviously making the transition. She'll be one of the only ones I think that will be bold to make the move, but it's not for the feint-hearted."

On International Women's day, McCann expressed her pride in being part of a sport and promotion that continues to nurture women's talent, giving them opportunities to be seen and inspire the next generation of women in combat sports.

"In recent years everyone is doing a good job at including women and a lot more equality being there. I'm very aware that in my sport and the promotion I fight for, the gender equality is there and the pay scale, where you can be on the card and I'm very fortunate in that," said McCann.

"I'm a national team coach for England and I know since I have been fighting at the higher level, the level of participation has risen.

"It's great to see so many young girls and women get the opportunities that boys do.

"When I started in MMA, my weight division wasn't in UFC - there was one. We all just had blind faith when you look at the likes of Katie Taylor, Savannah Marshall and Chantelle Cameron back then, there were no big professional sides, you couldn't go there.

"There's game changers that keep knocking at the door and even the likes of Natasha Jonas, she's kicked the door in. The young females in our city can inspire to be her.

"On a scale, women are seen everywhere at the minute."

Watch live MMA One Championship on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday March 9 from 1am

Anthony Joshua's heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou takes place on Friday March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office with the main event expected around 11pm. Book Joshua v Ngannou now!

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