“This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”
MMA is a man’s world no longer, this first became clear the moment Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos and Gina Carano headlined a Strikeforce card in 2009. In 2012, Ronda Rousey became Strikeforce bantamweight champion. Bellator retired their female division and UFC didn’t have one. Invicta, an all-female fighting promotion, gave a home for female fighters to challenge for belts.
Back in the UK, a pioneer began before Invicta, Ronda and Cyborg, Rosi ‘The Surgeon’ Sexton created a path for many fighters to follow. Making her debut in 2002 and retiring in 2014, Rosi fight for promotions like Cage Warriors, Bellator and in 2012 became the first UK woman to sign with the UFC. She traveled the world, trained the new breed and fought the best like Aisling Daly, Carano; her final bout came against the phenom, Joanna Jedrzejczyk at Cage Warriors 69.
Sexton’s an educator of the sport, who has opened doors for not just females but males to carry on this journey. So, what we’ve done is tell you which UK females you need to see.
Current Cage Warriors Flyweight Champion, Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann (7-1), bested Bryony Tyrell for the vacant belt, at her home town of Liverpool at Cage Warriors 90. Her boxing prowess makes her a fun fighter to watch, she stands and trades, then walks away a winner. ‘The Meatball’ trains at Next Generation gym with rising stars Paddy Pimblet and Chris Fishgold. Previously, McCann fought on Shock ‘n’ Awe, Shinobi War and XFCI cards before signing with Cage Warriors. The team is exciting and McCann is one to watch.
Bantamweight Kerry ‘Rocksteady’ Hughes’ MMA record currently stands at 3-3. Having trained in Muay Thai from an early age, Hughes then found herself in an MMA class thus leading to an undefeated streak in the amateurs. She fights out of BKK gym in Colchester where she trains extensively. She also visits Jackson/Wink to continue this journey. She most recently tasted defeat at Cage Warriors 89 in controversial fashion to Cindy Dandois. The setback hasn’t stopped her though, she continues to travel to the well-respected gyms building on her attributes and strengthening those weaknesses. The tough no-nonsense fighter is fun to watch and doesn’t back down from the fighter in front of her.
Fighting out of Darlington in the North East of England, meet Lanchana Green, a competitor on Ultimate fighter 23 ‘Joanna v Claudia’ who reached the semi-finals, losing to Amanda Cooper. Green’s a member of The Lab in Darlington where she trains and teaches and travels to Jackson/Wink to hone her skills. Her first appearance in a cage since TUF against Bryony Tyrell at M4TC ended in a battling draw. Lanchana’s still travels and teaches by building herself to face whomever is next. Keep an eye out, she impressed us inside of the TUF house by defeating Helen Harper and Ashley Cummins in emphatic style.
A shout out to Bryony Tyrell, in her last four fights she has been up against Molly McCann for the Cage Warriors Flyweight belt, drew with Lanchana Green at Made 4 The Cage and lost the BCMMA strawweight belt to Kate Jackson, then won the 360 Promotion Strawweight belt. Tyrell is threatening, her attitude is exceptional with a tough training schedule while working as an intensive care nurse along with being a mother. It’s exciting to see who’ll be next, whether at BCMMA, Cage Warriors or a rematch with Lanchana Green somewhere. The ‘Killa Bee’ has a sting that won’t go away.
In my best Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Impression ‘AND FINALLY’ a star of the future, 18-year-old Cory McKenna. McKenna’s pro debut at Cage Warriors 91 has been one of the highly anticipated debuts for some time and it was worth the wait as she defeated Maria Vittoria Colona in relentless manner by showcasing her maturing skills leading to her opponent retiring between rounds.
McKenna’s been turning heads in her amateur bouts with her undefeated record of 7-0 and holds the BCMMA Strawweight/Flyweight amateur straps. Her move to the next level saw her travel to Uriah Faber’s Team Alpha Male, pushing her boxing ability and wrestling skills to dangerous levels. With a strong fan base and family behind her, together with her sensible head, McKenna may well be the youngest UK fighter signed to the UFC. It’ll be so exciting to see what the future will hold.