Olympic Silver Medalist McMann Inks Deal with Strikeforce

By Mike Whitman Dec 27, 2010
Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann has signed with Strikeforce.

McMann spoke exclusively with Sherdog.com about the details of her new deal.

“I am confirmed for three fights on the Challengers series,” said McMann. “I have no idea who will be my first opponent, but I [will be fighting] at 135 pounds. I think that they will be matching me up with people who are comparative to my MMA level to make the fights exciting and give me more experience.”

The Maryland native won silver in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and has medaled thrice at the FILA World Championships, taking home silver in 2003 and bronze in both 2005 and 2007. All of her medals were won at 63 kg (138 pounds). McMann is the first American woman to win silver in freestyle wrestling, earning her medal at the first games in which the event was available to females. Though she holds a wealth of experience on the mat, McMann has had to start from scratch developing her stand-up.

“My mindset is different from wrestling, because I am young in the striking aspect. With wrestling, I was a seasoned veteran at all of the aspects [of the sport],” she said. “I think it makes it more exciting because I can see big jumps in my skills from one fight to the next.”

When asked if she felt any hesitancy in delivering or receiving blows after training only grappling for so many years, McMann responded candidly, explaining the difference in her disposition between the practice room and the cage.

“I have found that I'm more hesitant when I am sparring in practice because I think about doing things correctly and trying new skills,” she explained. “When I am in competition, I've been trained for years to simply execute, and that's what I do. I was very surprised to discover that punches in a fight don't hurt until hours afterward.”

McMann is 3-0 as an amateur and splits time training between three facilities in South Carolina. She works her overall mixed martial arts game at Revolution MMA in Boiling Springs and focuses on striking and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Linic MMA in Greenville. McMann rounds out her training at Limestone College in Gaffney, further developing her wrestling as well as hitting the weights and improving her conditioning.

It is unknown when McMann will make her Strikeforce debut, but the wrestling all-star relayed that she likely would not fight at “Challengers 13” on Jan. 7, which will be headlined by a welterweight scrap between up-and-comers Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine.

“The Jan. 7 card is full so it is unlikely that I will be on that card, but they are looking at a February show and will let me know as soon as they decide.”
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