(Photo Courtesy: Scott Matthews Photography)
One of the growing trends in the women’s division of MMA has been Olympic medalists entering the cage. Bronze medalist in Judo Ronda Rousey was had two amateur wins in MMA and defeated both of her opponents within the first round. Bronze Medalist in wrestling Randi Miller, who has been training at the H.I.T. Squad, will hopefully be making her long awaited debut in MMA sometime in the next few months.
Included in the list is Olympic silver medalist in wrestling Sara McMann. She is currently an undefeated 2-0 in the amateur ranks, and is looking for a third win when she enters the cage at “Rumble at the Tower” Oct. 23 in Columbia, SC. We had the opportunity to talk to McMann on “Sportsgeeks” about her move to the cage.
McMann said that politics had driven her out of the sport she knows and loves, and wanted to make a change. MMA seemed like the perfect fit.
“I wanted to retire from wrestling,” McMann expressed. “I just had a strong desire for one on one, hand-to-hand combat.”
“I think MMA offers a different intensity and it gives me an opportunity to start from scratch as an athlete; to build myself and see how far I can push my talents.”
McMann has been encouraged by several top fighters including Tara LaRosa and Shayna Baszler to pursue MMA; both of whom she has grappled with in tournaments. Even though her ground skills are world class, don’t expect McMann going for the Strikeforce 135 title anytime soon.
“I am still behind other people when it comes to striking,” McMann admitted. “I don’t know yet against a good opponent if I can bridge the gap between my wrestling and striking skills. It’s just going to take slowly getting the right opponents and putting me to the test, and not throwing me to the wolves right away.”
McMann stated that she isn’t the only wrestler thinking about making the move to MMA. Several grapplers are starting to experiment with boxing and jiu-jitsu. With McMann leading the way, this will be a trend that will go on into the future of the sport.
“I am really starting to see different people cross training by throwing on mitts or just rolling around doing jiu-jitsu; whereas I haven’t seen that earlier in my career. I think people are setting themselves up to make the transition if they want to, so I think we will see more wrestlers in the years to come.”