Ahead of UFC 304, Molly McCann credits Paddy Pimblett for helping her through personal setbacks

To do it when you’re being put through life’s wringer at the same time is another thing entirely. That’s what Molly McCann has been experiencing.

But McCann (14-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), a former flyweight who returns later this month at strawweight at against Bruna Brasil (9-4-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC 304 in Manchester, England, said if not for her training partners, particularly UFC rising star Paddy Pimblett, things for this camp in front of her home fans might not have gone as well.

She dealt with, she said, a death in the family and a major relationship issue.

“Training wise, (it’s been) unbelievable,” McCann told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “Personally, I feel like I’ve took the biggest Ls in my life. We’ve just had a lot going on personally that’s been quite tough. But I feel like any fight camp I ever had, (this one) was amazing. And nothing went wrong. I’ve ended up losing and the ones where I’ve had to overcome adversity behind closed doors, they’re the ones where we win.

“In the gym, I’m thriving. At home now, I’m thriving. But I personally took some big Ls this week. I just lost a family member. She was young. I called off my engagement, and then the TV show comes out and it’s all about my relationship. I was just like, for f*ck sake – I’ve got to see it all the time. But we did the right thing for both parties, and the right thing for my career. It’s all bittersweet, but it’s for the right reasons”

McCann said she doesn’t feel like she should keep her struggles outside the cage to herself. To that extent, she gives up a little expectation of privacy by sharing things like the end of her engagement.

But that, too, comes with a change in her view toward the people around her.

“I feel like everyone kind of knows (my issues),” McCann said. “I just probably needed to put it out there to the world, I suppose. But it’s been quite easy, to be fair. My gym, my family and my training partners have been out of this world. When your career comes first, your career comes first. You’ve just got to get on with it and just try and not be toxic or hate other people, and I think that’s why I’ve done so much therapy the last year and grown so much that it’s been OK and I’m proud of how I’ve got through since February.

“That was always the thing: That the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And when things take you from that, you have to realign. My dream and my goal is to be a world champion, and to do it again, or one step closer to it, being with your best friends, fighting 30 minutes from this bedroom, 30 minutes down there, I’m going to get to fight in Manchester and absolutely live the dream.”

McCann said Pimblett, who will fight Bobby Green on the same card, has mellowed out a little with two young daughters in tow.

“He’s just a bit more soft toward women, I think,” McCann said. “He’s got two little girls and going through the breakup, he’s really been there for me – like big bro. I know he’s my little bro, but he’s being big bro when he’s come through with flying colors. I feel like when he’s stressed or when I’m stressed, it’s nice when we get to do this together.”

After a three-fight winning streak against Ji Yeon Kim, Luana Carolina and Hannah Goldy, the latter two of which led to $50,000 post-fight bonuses. She tapped to a kimrua against Erin Blanchfield in late 2022 and an armbar against Julija Stoliarenko a year ago.

But in February, she beat Diana Belbita with an armbar for another bonus and her third straight win by finish.

UFC 304 (pay-per-view/ESPN/ESPN+) takes place July 27 at Co-op Live in Manchester.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 59.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie