It’s not much of a surprise that Sara McMann seems calm and collected heading into her UFC 170 title fight with Ronda Rousey.
Sure, the biggest opportunity of her professional MMA career comes standard with lots of pressure, but that’s nothing compared to what competitors go through at the Olympics.
That experience has a lot to do with McMann’s confidence heading into her Feb. 22 title tilt with the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s female bantamweight champion.
That and her Olympic wrestling pedigree, the closest thing to Rousey’s world-class judo skills in women’s MMA. The two Olympic medalists will headline the UFC 170 fight card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
What is surprising is how graceful McMann (7-0-0, 3 submissions) has been heading into her showdown with Rousey (8-0-0, 8 submissions). Refusing to jump on the ‘it’s cool to hate Ronda Rousey because everyone else does’ train, McMann has an interesting take on Rowdy’s critics.
“I think people are getting way, way, way too worked up about her personality,” McMann told Sherdog.com. “Some people are treating it like they hate her. I’m like, ‘Really? There are people in this world who you should hate and there are pedophiles or people who beat up old people and take their money. There are some rotten, despicable people who are orchestrating genocides in other countries, and yes, if you’re going to hate anyone, then by all means, hate them; but really to hate a girl just because what she says aggravates you?’ I just don’t think it’s worthy of hate.”
McMann couldn’t have broken down Rousey’s critics any better. Sure, Rousey can be a bit too much to take at times (declaring that her striking is the best in women’s MMA for example), but her behavior doesn’t really justify the mindless vitriol she’s faced lately.
Heck, at times, it seems like some members of the MMA media also have an axe to grind with Rousey. For the most part, Rousey was ignored during the final UFC 170 pre-fight conference, while others on the stage were bombarded with questions.
For McMann, it’s all just a lesson on how fickle members of the MMA community can be.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.