Last Saturday, at UFC Raleigh on Jan. 25, former bantamweight title challenger Sara McMann scored an important victory over Lina Lansberg in her return to the cage following a pregnancy hiatus.
ON THE WIN OVER LINA LANSBERG:
“It felt really good. I tried not to focus on the outcome, I tried to really focus on the process. What did I want to do in each moment of the fight. Where could I keep advancing– I chose position over taking too much of a risk. I knew that if I stayed solid and smart and one step ahead of her I was going to get my hand raised.
ON THE GAME PLAN IN THE FIGHT:
“Even before I went out, I thought, ‘Is there a girl on the planet in my weight class that I’m not going to be able to takedown? And I’m like, ‘no.’ It may not be the first takedown, or second or third, but if I want someone to go to the ground they are going to the ground because I do that to wrestlers who are in a stance that are the best in the world. None of these girls, in a higher stance for striking are going to be able to stop it. If I touch them and I want them to go to the ground they are going down.”
ON RETURNING AFTER A LONG LAY-OFF:
“I do believe sometimes ring rust is real. I felt completely at home out there. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and if I don’t know how to compete by now I don’t know when I’m gonna learn. It’s a long time. Really going out there, I’ve had years of training at [Team] Alpha Male. I didn’t really turn that switch off, I didn’t stop training. I never stopped advancing my career.”
ON WHERE SHE FELT LINA WAS MOST DANGEROUS:
“She hit me with a pretty good liver shot [with a kick]. I was like, ‘Hmm, I don’t like that. Next time she does that I’m catching it and taking her down.’ Anymore legs come toward my middle, ya know? That’s anybody, I don’t care who you are, you cant really train your liver. She hit a nice kick. I was aware of the elbows. She’s called ‘The Elbow Queen’ so I was like she’s going to be looking for them everywhere. Those things can cut. She’s a Muay Thai world champ, so, I respected them.
ON HER LAST TWO LOSSES IN THE OCTAGON:
“It was important for me to go out there and do well. I really feel like in my last two fights that I lost I was doing really well. It’s not like I went out there and any body dominated me. I think the biggest thing for me was I have better focus than what I showed. I was doing really well and I had a judgement lapse, an error, I just got off focus for just enough and I paid a hefty price for it. I didn’t just get hit, I got taken down and finished. The other one I let her get too deep on a good area and for me it was like I cant ever have lapses in focus like that. I’m better than that and I expect better of myself. That was a really important thing for me more than the win.”
ON WHAT’S NEXT AND WHERE SHE SEES HERSELF IN THE BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION:
“Right now even after the fight has passed a little bit and my adrenaline is not the same, I feel really good and like I didn’t take very much damage. I’ll go back and talk to my coaches– the UFC, they do right by me. They’re going to give me a tough opponent. They never give me easy fights and I don’t want it that way. I know they are going to keep their eye out and they’re going to put me against someone tough. I’ll go back and see how I feel and what things I need to correct…”
“We have a good, dominant champion but past the champion all the contenders it really is about match-ups. A lot of girls have been doing really well and than they have a different match-up and have a loss. Everybody has some wins and losses. I don’t feel like there’s a real clear contender so that means its up to me to stand out.”
McMann also talks about why she will stay at 135-pounds instead of fighting at 145-pounds, her recovery and training process and more.
Check out the full interview by MMA Fighting below.