Sara McMann wants to build toward Cris Cyborg fight in Bellator: ‘You beat her, you are the best featherweight’

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Sara McMann sees a fight with Cris Cyborg on the horizon, but she wants to earn it.

After an almost 10-year UFC tenure, McMann (13-6) signed a multifight deal with Bellator and will compete in the featherweight division.

The 42-year-old Olympic silver medalist in wrestling is targeting a March return, but would like to get her feet wet before eyeing 145-pound champion Cyborg (26-2 MMA, 5-0 BMMA).

“I think I’d like to fight 145 once or twice before a title fight just to get my bearings and adjust to anything that might be a little bit different,” McMann told MMA Junkie. “I don’t think it’s going to be that different, but I don’t want my first fight to be – if there are any surprises, I would rather it not happen in a title fight. But also, it’s really important to me to show that I deserve and earn what I have, and so I don’t want to come in and just skip the line. I very much believe that I will beat the people in line, so it makes sense to me to build that fight.”

McMann suffered setbacks to UFC dual-champion Amanda Nunes and former bantamweight champs Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Julianna Peña. But if she can notch a win over Cyborg, she sees it as a big feather in her cap.

“If you beat her, you are the best featherweight,” McMann said. “I know her and Amanda fought, but I view that fight as – standing in front of each other and just going blow for blow, that could have gone either way. Cyborg stood toe-to-toe with tons of people and gone blow-for-blow and it worked out her way. So, I think you fight her and Amanda ten times, and five times it’s going to go Cyborg’s way, five times it’s going to go Nunes’ way. It’s not that she was so dominant. It’s kind of a foolish way to fight, but people do.”

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