One of the biggest talking points in the aftermath of Aspinall vs Tybura was Julija Stoliarenko defeating Molly McCann. McCann is one of the most well-known fighters in the women’s divisions and was known for her highlight reel knockout capability, particularly so when fighting on the home soil of the O2. Things did not go to plan for McCann however as she was defeated in the very first round by Stoliarenko in a fight that many expected her to win. Now on a 2 fight-losing skid and with her overall UFC record at 6-5, it appears that McCann is looking for a fresh start, stating her intention to drop down to strawweight.
— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 22, 2023
While this may be an excellent decision, McCann is at a critical point of her career, and in order to keep herself on the main cards and enjoy the heavy promotion that she does, she will need to start returning to winning ways sooner rather than later. Her last two performances have been extremely lackluster and a good showing in her debut at 115 lbs. is essential. Here are some names that may be ideal for a 115 lb. debut for Molly “Meatball” McCann to get her career back on track.
Top Candidates for Molly McCann’s Next Octagon Walk
Diana Belbita is a fighter that Molly McCann is already very familiar with having bested her in a bout contested at Flyweight back in 2019. Belbita is 2-3 in the UFC however has won 2 of her 3 fights at Strawweight since making the move down. While she certainly represents a tough test for any fighter at 115 lbs and has shown that she certainly belongs in the UFC the fact that McCann already holds a victory over her may provide the Liverpudlian with some self-confidence knowing that she does indeed have what it takes to beat this opponent. What is more, is that Belbita’s style favors McCann heavily with her being a preferred stand-up fighter. Belbita’s background in karate and kickboxing means it is unlikely that she would be taking a fight down to the floor and will engage McCann where she is most comfortable. On the feet. A win for McCann here would be an excellent way of easing her into the strawweight division against a credible opponent who is 2-1 in their last 3, yet also someone who McCann knows she is capable of beating and is a stylistically favorable match-up for her.
Jinh Yu Frey
A veteran of women’s MMA, Jinh Yu Frey is a former Invicta Atomweight Champion that could certainly provide Molly McCann with the ideal debut at 115 lbs. Currently 38 years old, Frey is surely coming to the end of her career and would likely jump at the chance to fight a name as large as Molly McCann. While on a three fight losing streak, Frey, as stated previously, is a former world champion with the respected organization Invicta FC and is a credible opponent for pretty much any woman at 115 lbs on the planet. Frey is one of the pioneers at 105 lbs., a division known as atomweight that the UFC has yet to implement, and established herself as one of the best in the world at this weight class.
Boasting a very well-rounded skill set and over a decade of experience Frey would be a good choice for McCann at Strawweight to show that she is still capable of beating very good and able fighters. Another incentive for McCann would be the difference in size between them with Frey once at a lower weight class and McCann coming down from Flyweight. Frey also appears to be susceptible on the feet as shown by Polyana Viana who managed to knock out the veteran at the beginning of the first round of their fight with a quick combination. Something that McCann herself is no stranger to using. A win over Frey for McCann would represent a win over a former world champion albeit an aging one and show that McCann was still able to hang with fighters in the most prestigious organization in the world.
Another former Invicta world champion, Angela Hill had her first fight in the UFC in 2015. She has since had well over twenty fights with the promotion accumulating a record of 9-13 during this time. She has established herself as a solid fighter in the strawweight division capable of giving many fighters problems. Starting off her combat sports career as a kickboxer, Hill went 16-0 before making the transition to MMA. Known for her ability to generate fight-of-the-night bonuses, winning four of them, Hill is like McCann in the sense that she simply loves to scrap and put on a show.
A fight between the two would likely result in a stand-up war which is exactly the type of fight that both fighters prefer. With her last two performances leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many MMA fans across the globe, a really entertaining bonus winning fight could be exactly what McCann needs in order for people to start talking about her again and with Hill 2-1 in her last 3 fights it’s not like she can be discredited as an out of form opponent. A matchup between these two would surely be fireworks.
While McCann has shown herself to be a competent flyweight she never truly climbed the rankings the way she nor likely the UFC hoped her to given her vast popularity. Hopefully, this move down to a new weight class will provide the necessary shake-up for her career and we will see a new and much improved Molly McCann in the future.