Check out the latest breaking UFC NEWS
For Northern Ireland’s Leah McCourt, Bellator 227 represents an opportunity to show the world exactly what she’s all about as a fighter.
The 27-year-old from Belfast captured European and world titles as an amateur, and hopes to progress her way up the Bellator featherweight ranks and eventually claim a world title as a professional.
The rising star of Irish women’s mixed martial arts, McCourt (2-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) told reporters at Bellator’s press conference in Dublin that she is excited to bring her A-game to the cage when she faces Kerry Hughes on the main card of Bellator 227 in Dublin on September 27.
“My last fight (a first-round doctor stoppage of Hatice Ozyurt at Bellator 217) I was fighting with one arm, with a torn rotator cuff, where I hadn’t trained in about six weeks,” she explained. “So I’m really looking to show my overall game and what I can do. I feel I haven’t really shown my kind of level yet, so I hope to do that on the night.”
McCourt is facing an opponent who has a fair degree more experience than herself. Hughes (3-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has shared the cage with Belgian veteran Cindy Dandois and most recently went the distance with current UFC athlete Pannie Kianzad.
Going up against an opponent who has already faced more seasoned opposition gives McCourt more cause for excitement ahead of her bout, as she plans to deliver a clean, clinical performance to earn a statement victory and announce her arrival as a new contender in Bellator’s competitive women’s 145-pound division.
“I think I can make it a hard fight or make it an easy fight,” she explained. “She’s experienced, she’s been around a while. She’s going to be aggressive and come forward. I’ll just look to show my skill and my level. She’ll bring out the best in me.
“I’ve talked to my coaches and we’re training for that kind of good performance where it’s not messy – a clean performance where we make it look good. So that’s what we’re training for.”
Fighting on the Bellator 227 portion of the Dublin card in Dublin, McCourt has the opportunity to not just showcase her skills to the world, but also show off her new nickname: “The Curse.”
McCourt recently added the moniker to her Instagram page, and told reporters she thinks she’ll make it official moving forward.
“I probably will stick with it, I think,” she grinned.
“Molly McCann gave me that nickname. She said: ‘If something bad’s gonna happen, it’ll happen to Leah, and it’ll happen twice!’
“I don’t know, bad luck follows me and if you spend a day with me, then the most mental stuff will happen, so it kinda suits!”
News | MMA Junkie