This is a story I wrote for MMA Latest News
In Nashville, Aug. 9, MMA fans witnessed the rise of a potential contender in Amanda Nunes after she submitted Sara McMann with a rear-naked choke, less than three minutes into the first round.
For the “Lioness,” it was the fourth victory in five fights and perhaps the statement she needed to propel herself into the next plateau of the women’s bantamweight division. But for McMann, it was the third loss in four fights. Before the loss to Nunes, she dropped a majority decision to Miesha Tate. In February 2014 she suffered her first loss to current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey after the “Rowdy” one dropped her with a vicious knee to the body.
MMA pundits will look at this and say things like “she’s next on the chopping block.” Critics have used the words “overrated” when they talk about McMann without taking into account her experience and the fight resume she’s made for herself when she moved up to the professional ranks in 2011 after two amateur bouts. There is also her wrestling accolades which include a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens Greece and two Pan American titles. Of course wrestling isn’t MMA. Fans also look at wrestling with a stink eye because the perception that wrestlers aren’t the most exciting fighters.
But McMann’s octagon run hasn’t been all losses. Before her fight with Tate, she picked up a decision win over former Invicta bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy. In her first foray into the octagon, McMann bulldozed “The German Tank” Sheila Gaff and finished her in late in the first round of their fight.
McMann is one of the fighters who entered mixed martial arts at a time when the women’s division was on the rise. She has always been a tough competitor and fought notable names. In her first six fights she fought notable names such as Shayna Baszler, Hitomi Akano and current Invicta bantamweight titleholder Tonya Evinger. In her seventh fight she was fighting Ronda Rousey for a world championship. As Bloody Elbow’s David Castillo pointed out in his column, Nunes lost to Alexis Davis in her eighth fight – though the column has it listed as Nunes’ seventh fight. Yet Nunes also faced some tough competition prior to that fight – Ediane Gomes, Julia Budd and Invicta title contender Vanessa Porto. As for Tate, you could argue that her earlier opponents were not the caliber of foes that McMann and Nunes faced.
All great fighters have rough patches in their careers and McMann seems to experiencing her’s. She’s made some mistakes like every prospect and has learned from them. She may have lost a few fights but her name still carries some weight. She’s got a wrestling pedigree that no woman competitor can match, as well as strength and power.
The UFC hasn’t indicated that they will release McMann from her contract, which means fans will see her in the octagon one more time. Personally I think she could have a good scrap with someone like Sarah Kaufman or Liz Carmouche.
McMann may make some changes to her fight game before her next bout but the next time we see McMann step into the octagon, it may be the best Sara McMann we’ve ever seen.