Sara McMann will reach next level of her career in Strikeforce

By Al Stover

Silver medalist Sara McMann made MMA headlines by being the latest fighter to sign with Strikeforce earlier this week.

The addition of the undefeated McMann not only adds depth to Strikeforce’s women’s division, but also sets up a possible fight between McMann and Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.  However, McMann doesn’t want to jump straight into a title shot.

In an interview on the MMA Hour radio show, McMann said she would rather gain more experience before getting a shot at championship gold. She also added that champions only fight marketable contenders while other fighters have a deeper talent pool to draw from.

“But if you’re not the No. 1 girl you can fight everybody, so I kind of hope I get more fights before I have the title, because otherwise I’ll be a little bit more limited. I like to fight frequently, every time I learn so much from every single fight. I don’t want to go six months to a year between fights. It could actually make me dislike doing MMA if I was only training all the time.”

I’ve always felt that one thing that separates a skilled fighter from a future champion is the level of opponents they face.

Not to say that easy wins are a bad thing. Many successful fighters like Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell have those quick victories that helped propel them to the next level.

However, a fighter whose career has been built on those victories against lower talented fighters will come up against a former champion or contender, and then get beat.

Edson Barboza was undefeated and highly touted until he came up against former WEC champion Jamie Varner at UFC 146. Varner stopped Barboza, who was touted as becoming a force in the UFC lightweight division, in the first round via TKO.

I’m not saying the 6-0 undefeated McMann hasn’t fought tough fighters.

In her last fight McMann defeated Shayna Bazler at Invicta FC 2. Prior to that fight, she beat former Hitomi Akano.

Bazler is in the top 10 of 135-pound women fighters while Akano is a former Smackgirl champion.

McMann is starting to scratch the surface of the higher level of opponents and by being in Strikeforce, she now has a chance to continue to progress in the rankings by facing fighters like former champions Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman, assuming she is still is with Strikeforce , or rising prospects like Cat Zingano or Amanda Nunes.

McMann could also go back to Invicta and fight former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen or former contender Liz Carmouche.

If she were to beat Carmouche , Coenen, Kaufman or Tate, who she previously defeated in a grappling match, McMann would be more than qualified for a shot at Rousey’s title.

However, Strikeforce may want McMann to compete for Rousey’s belt sooner than she would like. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said in an interview that Rousey would probably want to fight before the end of 2012.

With “Cyborg” Santos’ suspension not being up until December 2012, Rousey is going to need an opponent. With Tate looking to take time off, McMann may be a logical choice, especially because fans have wanted to see this fight before she started competing in MMA.

“[We] both came out around the same time, After a year, it was like ‘real original idea, thanks for informing me’ because everybody, it kind of happened so frequently. It was like, ‘I better get used to it.'”

There is speculation that McMann will make her Strikeforce debut on the Nov. 3 card that is already featuring the UFC-Strikeforce crossover fight between Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir, and the Strikeforce Middleweight title match between champ Luke Rockhold and challenger Lorenz Larkin.

With the World Series of Fighting holding its first event on the same day, Strikeforce may put McMann in a high profile match if she is planning to make her debut at the event.

For McMann, who has stated that she wants to be known for having a “15-0 or 20-0” record, Strikeforce is a good place to rack up more victories and learn new lessons.


Who would you like to see McMann face in her Strikeforce debut? Answer by commenting in the box below or sending a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA

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