Soon after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey defended her title against Miesha Tate at UFC 168 last weekend (Dec. 28, 2013), it was announced that "Rowdy" would make a very quick turnaround to face Sara McMann in the main event of UFC 170 on Feb. 22, 2014.
It was a surprise to many, including McMann herself, who says she was rather shocked when she received the call to face the 135-pound queen.
But after the initial surprise wore off, Sara began to count her blessings, as she realized the huge opportunity at hand. Most importantly, McMann says the title fight came at a perfect time in her life. And the fact that it didn't come by default, makes it that much sweeter.
Her words on "The MMA Hour:"
"Actually, I kind was (shocked). Truthfully, I don't know how it works. I never knew when I was going to get the shot. I'm just trying to be patient and keep getting better every day, so when it did come along, I was the best possible fighter I could be. It definitely was surprising, but I wanted it for quite awhile and to be the world champion was my original goal when I started. So, it was a welcome surprise."
"My significant other and I both felt like this couldn't have come at a better time. It feels very right to us. That's what makes us very excited about it because if it had come off some kind of controversy or like, different fights have a different feel to them, some with a more negative perception. This one just feels like the perfect timing."
At UFC 168, Rousey was taken out of the opening frame for the first time in her mixed martial arts (MMA) career, as Tate proved to be a game opponent, dragging "Rowdy" into round three before falling to Rousey's trademark armbar (video here).
While McMann was impressed with both performances, she says the champion looked confident while exchanging punches on the feet, adding another tool to her arsenal to compliment her lethal jiu-jitsu.
Having said that, Sara understands she has to be fully prepared in all facets of the fight game if shes wants to dethrone Ronda.
"[Rousey] looked pretty comfortable on her feet. In my mind, there's not one specific area that I want to win that I think is going to make a huge difference. I need to win in every area to beat the champion. If it goes to decision, it's very hard to beat the champion, so you have to definitely dominate in every area. That's how I feel."
Indeed, McMann -- who has yet to taste defeat (7-0,1-0 UFC) -- will have to be on her "A" game if she wants to become the new women's 135-pound champ.
A few people who won't have trouble bringing their best to the table are UFC President Dana White and his public relations team, who should have no trouble promoting a fight between two undefeated women; one with an Olympic silver medal in freestyle wrestling (McMann), while the other boasts an bronze badge in Judo (Rousey).
A promoter's dream come true.