Sara McMann has not lost a fight as a professional mixed martial artist, putting together a record of 7-0, and earning a spot as the No. 4 ranked fighter in the UFC women's bantamweight division. On February 22 she will step into the Octagon for the first time since defeating Shelia Gaff in April 2013. McMann's opponent in her first fight back after that long layoff will be UFC champion Ronda Rousey.
Rousey, unbeaten in eight professional fights will head into UFC 170's main event as the huge betting favorite. The long layoff between fights for McMann will definitely play some role in making her the underdog, but McMann is not the least bit worried about how much time she has had off between fights.
McMann, a silver medalist in wrestling at the 2004 Athens Olympics has been competing at a high level for quite some time, and because of that fact her confidence is high. McMann, attended a recent media luncheon for UFC 170, and said, "When you've done something for that long, you could wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me to hit something and I would hit it.
It's so many years, and so much muscle memory, that's like saying ‘will this fighter, if they get injured and they come back will they be the same person?' Maybe if they just started it and they've only be doing this skill for a couple months they may slow down and have to rework a couple of things, but I don't experience that in wrestling and I don't experience that in fighting."
To drive that fact home, McMann went on to say that there have been times when she has had to go back and watch tape just to see what she has done in competition, "Your body just does it, it doesn't wait for your mind to catch up and process the information and then say to do it because by that time the opportunity is gone." McMann said of that ingrained muscle memory, "You have the ability to do something at such a high level or higher pace."
McMann's point that high level athletes don't lose a step when taking time off was proven by her upcoming opponent. Rousey fought Miesha Tate at UFC 168 after a ten-month layoff. Rousey, a bronze medalist in judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics stopped Tate in the third round with an armbar, the same hold she used to defeat her seven previous professional opponents.
There were no mentions of ring rust during Rousey's performance, and by the sound of things, McMann feels that the dreaded term will not be used when she fights Rousey for UFC gold at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
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