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Sara McMann signs multi-fight deal with Bellator

Sara McMann is getting a change of scenery in 2023.

The one-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight title challenger has ended her free agency, signing with Bellator MMA, according to Ariel Helwani. McMann released a statement on Instagram shortly after the news was revealed (embedded above).

“Sara McMann, the Olympic silver medalist and former UFC title contender, has signed a new exclusive, multi-fight contract with Bellator, per sources,” Helwani tweeted. “She will compete in their 145-pound division. Debut date and opponent TBA.”

With Bellator having only Flyweight and Featherweight divisions for its female fighters, McMann will be headed to 145 pounds for the first time in her 19-fight career. McMann, 42, has only fought north of 135 pounds on one occasion, appearing as high as 140 pounds in a Catchweight bout early on in her career.

McMann’s UFC tenure came to an end off an impressive hype-halting unanimous decision win over Karol Rosa in March 2022. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame member was supposed to face now-Professional Fighters League (PFL) Featherweight, Aspen Ladd, in Aug. 2022 before Ladd fell ill with COVID-19. Their pairing was rebooked for Sept. 2022 until Ladd’s failure to make weight canceled the bout, resulting in McMann receiving her show money, therefore, finishing her contract.

Bantamweight’s original crop of fighters when women were introduced to UFC included McMann. In her time with the promotion, she fought 13 times, winning on seven occasions. McMann’s lone title appearance against Ronda Rousey in Feb. 2014 marked the first time in UFC history that two former Olympians met in a title tilt. Despite being over the age of 40, McMann has proven to still be a viable contender at Bantamweight.

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