Former UFC title challenger Sara McMann signs with Bellator

MMA News

Former UFC title challenger Sara McMann signs with Bellator

Sara McMann has a new home.

The former UFC title challenger and Olympic silver medalist has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator, leaving behind almost a 10-year career with the UFC. McMann (13-6) is expected to move up a division and compete as a featherweight. Her debut under the Bellator banner is yet to be determined.

MMA Junkie verified the news with multiple sources following an initial report from Ariel Helwani on Tuesday.

Shortly after the news broke, McMann issued a statement on social media explaining her decision (via Instagram):

After a lot of consideration and negotiation, I’ve decided to fight for Bellator in the featherweight division. Before my fight with Karol Rosa, Jennifer Goldstein (my amazing manager) asked if I wanted to test free agency or remain with the UFC no matter what. I told her that while I have enjoyed my career fighting for the UFC, I am at a different point in life than when I initially signed with them.

I’m at a very fortunate time in Women’s MMA where other promotions will offer very enticing contracts if you are a top ranked fighter. It’s not easy to leave some of the great people I’ve met or the excellent bantamweight fighters I’ve faced. Bellator made an offer that I simply couldn’t refuse. I hope to keep all of my friends in the UFC while making new friends in Bellator. The fighting world is a tight knit community and I respect all of the athletes who put it on the line. My desire to be the world champion at featherweight is very strong because I truly believe Bellator has the premier fighters in the world at that weight class. Thank you to every one of my fans, you all are legit fight fans (or wrestlers ) and I can’t wait to showcase my skills without a tough weight cut 😅

Some fans have asked about retirement. The honest answer is that I just really like fighting and don’t want to stop yet 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣 I have a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and I really look forward to the day I can do counseling full time. But not yet…

McMann was last seen in action in March, when she defeated Karol Rosa by unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN 33.. That’s was her only fight in 2022.

McMann was scheduled to make a return in two separate occasions this year, one in August and the other in September, against Aspen Ladd, but both bouts fell through due to Ladd’s weight issues. Following the cancelations, McMann was released from her final fight of her UFC contract.

The 42-year-old leaves the UFC with a record of 7-6. She holds notable wins over Alexis Davis, Jessica Eye, and Lauren Murphy. McMann’s most notable moment came when she challenged Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title in 2014. She lost the bout by first-round TKO.

Former UFC title challenger Sara McMann signs with Bellator