Molly McCann exclusive: 'Erin Blanchfield has lit a rocket up my arse... I'm not gonna stop until I touch the belt'
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Molly McCann has revealed the 'dark place' she went to following her crushing defeat to Erin Blanchfield as she remains hellbent on capturing a UFC title.
'Meatball' recorded three impressive victories, including not one but two 'Performance of the Night' victories over Luana Carolina and Hannah Goldy, before her devastating UFC 281 loss.
She came unstuck to the rising UFC star, suffering a submission loss in the very first round, snapping her three-fight winning streak in the process.
The 33-year-old hasn't fought since that outing at Madison Square Garden, revealing she didn't go back to the gym until she was happy.
Reflecting on her fourth defeat of her UFC career, she told SPORTbible: "Imagine the worst ever thing to happen to you in your career - that times 10 is how I felt. It took me to a dark place. It wasn't fun. It took a long time to be happy again and not just be riddled with failure.
"I just had to work through it. I didn't go back to the gym till I felt I was ready," she added. "Sometimes if you have a big injury or you take a big loss, you can rush back and your heart's not healed."
Blanchfield, who's ranked No.3 in the UFC women's flyweight division, is on course to challenge for UFC gold in the near future. She's undefeated inside the famed Octagon as she enhanced her budding reputation in her last outing against Jessica Andrade.
Upon more reflection on her defeat to the 24-year-old, McCann can take consolation knowing she lost not only to one of the best fighters in the divisions, but also to one of the best prospects in the sport.
The Evertonian is also convinced the American fighter will go onto win the UFC flyweight title regardless of who she comes up against in the cage.
"There was consolation when I watched the fight after. She respected my striking more than probably anyone else who she's fought," she continued. "Hand on heart, I think she'll go onto win the belt no matter who holds it. I think she was supposed to fight for the belt next, but they've given Shevchenko the rematch as she deserved for what she's done for the sport. But I feel like she'll be fighting for the belt before the end of the year, if not the first quarter of next year."
Asked if she's watched her fight against Blanchfield back, she replied: "I watched the highlights. I was in there and know exactly what happened. I don't feel like I need to watch the worst moments of my life again, again and again. You can't focus too much on 'oh, I need to work better jujitsu' - she's a specialist and that's her move."
Prior to her defeat last November, McCann was riding momentum ahead of potentially landing a UFC title shot. But the minor road bump hasn't deterred her from reaching her goal as she's determined to win a UFC belt.
"I'm in and amongst the best in the world, and I'm not going to stop until I touch the belt," she said. "It makes it easier to know you've not lost to a bum. When you lose someone who's stylistically extremely dangerous, it's easier to take on the chin.
"I just dusted myself down. I didn't think she was as good as she was and that's not me down playing it, but the fight after me. She proved that she is legitimate. I thought she's got to be good to beat me the way she did because I've never had rounds of sparring like that, let alone a round in a fight. I didn't think I had more to give emotionally or physically. But she's lit a rocket up my arse. I'll just leave it like that," she added.
McCann could've returned to action earlier as the promotion had a slot for her at UFC 286 last March. However, she wanted more time to train and improve her skills before making a swift return.
"You don't get to build your repertoire," she said. "You don't get to keep on learning because the fight game advances so much. Every six months, every year. it changes. I needed time to train. Not just to be ready for the fight, I need to train and keep advancing and getting better and building my fight IQ and strategy."
McCann will be looking to get back to the win column when she faces Julija Stoliarenko in the co-main event of UFC London on Saturday.
The Brit will be hoping a victory can put her back on track for a shot at the UFC women's flyweight championship.
Molly McCann will be fighting at the O2 London for UFC FIGHT NIGHT: ASPINALL vs. TYBURA. To book your tickets, please visit, https://www.axs.com/uk/events/482598/ufc-fight-night-tickets.