Sara McMann Wants to Make Gradual Climb, Become True Mixed Martial Artist



Sara McMann passed the stiffest test of her career Saturday with a unanimous decision over Shayna Baszler at Invicta FC 2.

Coming off the win, the Olympic silver medalist in wrestling joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Cheap Seats” show to discuss the judges’ scorecards, Ronda Rousey and more.

On debate following the decision: “I think that really what the problem is, is anytime you have a close fight, there’s no point system. I’ve won plenty of [wrestling] matches by one or two points. And it was a close match, but I still won it. With MMA, since there’s no point system, they don’t put up who won each round [immediately after the round] so each fighter’s aware of it. It leaves a lot of ambiguity and it leaves a lot of opinion in the fights. Basically for the way the decision went, I think that both people fighting their hearts out, they’re always going to feel like they won. Because in a way when you put everything on the line and you give the best that you have, you have won in a sense.”

On one judging giving her all three rounds: “I was even a little confused about the 30-27 because I would have said that I won two of the rounds, the first and third round, and I could understandably say that I didn’t win the [second] round because she was attacking submissions. The only justification that I saw might have influenced it is that I got the takedown to put her on the ground for the submission attacks, and then I got out, and then I finished on her back. That might be where maybe that judge felt two takedowns were … I don’t know really. I think she did very strong submission attempts and I had to work really hard to get out of them. Me personally, I didn’t think that I won that round.”

On not rushing her MMA career: “I have my peace of mind in my wrestling career. I’m doing this because I enjoy doing it. It’s not about skyrocketing to the top and it’s not about making a bunch of money or people knowing my name. This is about the journey for me. I really want to have a good, solid career, and at the end I want to look and say I’m a skilled mixed martial artist. … I could go in probably and take people down and hold them down and win decisions, but it just isn’t what I’m interested in being.”

On learning from her bout against Baszler: “I’ve learned so much from this last fight. The length of time I kept it on the feet -- I mean, I have so much to go back and work on and so many things to tweak. That’s the exciting part for me.”

On future opponents: “Basically whoever’s at the top is the person I have my bull’s-eye on. Whoever’s the number one girl at 135 and anyone ranked above me, that’s who I want to fight. I like the fact that I’m working my way up the ladder and fighting a huge variety of different opponents, some strikers and some grapplers. I want to be a good, well-rounded mixed martial artist. It takes time and it takes experience. It takes revealing mistakes and going back to the room and correcting them. I’m really happy with this route. If I wanted to, I could make a big deal and sign with Strikeforce and be doing it really soon, but I don’t feel like I need any rush. I just want to get better.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 59:25).

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