In this three-part series, I will choose my top UFC women’s prospects for 2021. They all had a first taste of life in the UFC last year, so I will detail their background and explain why, in my opinion, they are the ones to keep your eyes on during 2021.
2nd: Cory McKenna
UFC record: 1-0 – decision. Now 6-1 overall.
Age 21. Welsh. Strawweight.
Cory McKenna had competed solely in Cage Warriors prior to 2020 but would see her career go to another level after her fights in the calendar year. As a 4-1 strawweight who began her professional career in 2018, McKenna impressed and was invited to take part in the Contender Series to see whether she could put on a performance worthy of a UFC contract.
McKenna’s opponent on the Contender Series in August 2020 was Vanessa Demopoulos, who herself had built an impressive 5-1 career record. The fight went the distance and McKenna was judged to be the victor via a hard-fought unanimous decision win, a showing that earned her a place in the UFC.
Cwmbran fighter Cory McKenna talks about earning a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship pic.twitter.com/Dt3jE0pL4W
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) August 15, 2020
Making her debut on the main card of a UFC Fight Night in November, McKenna became the first Welsh woman to compete in the UFC as she faced Kay Hansen. Hansen had won her last three bouts including a Performance of the Night showing on her UFC debut as she beat Jinh Yu Frey by submission.
The fight proved to be very close but McKenna took the win by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). The win not only showed that McKenna could compete at this level but also gave her a taste of how difficult the competition was going to be.
Official decision: Cory McKenna (6-1) defeats Kay Hansen (7-4) #UFC #UFCVegas14pic.twitter.com/0hwRoDDgcR
— All Access MMA (@AllAccessMMA247) November 15, 2020
McKenna’s statistics now stand at two TKO, one submission, and three decision victories from her six wins. Her only professional defeat was a split decision loss in the first year of her career.
“The Hobbit” does not have a fight booked for 2021 yet but it will be interesting to see how the UFC pair her up for her next bout because she has a lot of potential and time to grow in the 115lbs division.
Follow Rob Bartle on Twitter
Other articles by Rob Bartle via his Medium page