I deserve spotlight after giving all for UFC – McCann

Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Saturday, 22 July
Coverage: Follow live text commentary and reaction on BBC Sport website & app from 21:00 BST.

Molly McCann says she deserves the spotlight at UFC London after “giving everything” to the promotion.

Liverpool’s McCann fights Julija Stoliarenko at flyweight at the O2 Arena on Saturday in her first co-main event in the organisation.

The 33-year-old says she has faced criticism from fans who don’t believe she deserves the slot.

“There’s been a lot of controversy over whether I deserve [to co-headline],” said McCann.

“This is my 11th fight in the UFC. I’ve nearly given my eyesight to this company. I’ve broken bones, torn ligaments.

“I give every interview that I can and I do everything to represent this company to the best of my ability.

“I’m kill or be killed, aren’t I? My fights aren’t boring, I try to be a fan favourite and I’ll show that on Saturday.”

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In 2019 McCann broke her left orbital bone in victory over Priscila Cachoeira and had to undergo surgery to prevent permanent damage to her eyesight.

During the press conference McCann apologised as her eye started to water – a symptom she said is a result of the injury.

McCann appeared calm and confident as she spoke to the media, before joking with her team-mate Leah McCourt, whose phone loudly interrupted the press conference.

“I watched Maycee [Barber] and Amanda [Ribas] the other week and they were the co-main and they got a lot of hate saying they shouldn’t be co-main, and they gave the fight of the night in my opinion,” said McCann.

“I’d like to make sure me and Julija can do the same. I don’t think I’ve had a rubbish minute in that O2 Arena.

“I’ve given everything every minute, so I’m very excited and hopeful.”

Molly McCann
Molly McCann beat Hannah Goldy last July

‘I’m in the best shape of my life’

McCann’s popularity soared as two spinning elbow knockouts last year saw her rise into the top-15 of the UFC’s women’s flyweight division, but a first-round defeat to Erin Blanchfield in November halted her momentum.

Lithuania’s Stoliarenko comes into the bout after suffering defeat to Chelsea Chandler in October.

The 30-year-old is also cutting down to flyweight for the first time in her 19-fight career.

McCann says the fight was finalised in February, meaning she’s had five months to prepare and is in “the best shape of her life”.

“I’m so light, I’m eating toast, carbs with my eggs,” said McCann.

“The hardest part for us both will be to stay on it for all this time, five months is a long time to prepare.

“I cant wait to see what she’s got. I wish her a happy weight cut, a good refuel and a brilliant night on Saturday.”

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