One-half of the equation isn’t viewing it through that lens, however. Fighting for a fabricated title or accolade isn’t what McCourt (6-1 MMA, 5-0 BMMA), a native of Northern Ireland, is interested in. As an advocate of women’s martial arts in the region, McCourt is just happy the sport is growing at the rate it is. This fight is a representation of that.
“I love seeing all the girls,” McCourt said at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “I support them all. I love seeing… all the girls do so well… and everybody. I like seeing everybody coming up together. I think stylistically is such a good fight. I don’t think it’s (for) the No. 1 spot in Ireland. That’s not really my goal. (My goal) is to obviously be a world champion.”
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Removing perceived arbitrary labels, at the end of the day, McCourt sees the matchup as a good, meaningful fight. Ireland’s Kavanagh (7-5 MMA, 4-5 BMMA) is on the heels of a Bellator title challenge against Cris Cyborg in November, so McCourt could be within an arm’s reach of the next title shot.
“I’m really proud it’s got the recognition I think it deserves because I think it’s such a big fight and there’s big repercussions after for whoever wins and there will be big opportunities,” McCourt said. “I always say, once you step in the cage, your life and your outcome can change so much after. It’s nice to get that respect. Because I think people take for granted what we do sometimes. It’s nice.
Bellator 275 takes place Friday at 3Arena in Dublin. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.
Photos: Leah McCourt through the years
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Cris Cyborg def. Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 271: Best photos
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