At just 19 years old, Cory McKenna (4-1) is already one of the hottest prospects in Europe.
With a ton of amateur experience, she has quality far beyond her years and looks at home in the cage. Back-to-back wins have her confidence sky high, as she patiently waits for her crack at the Cage Warriors strawweight title.
“I’m next looking to be on the October 12th card in Cardiff, I’m pretty sure I’ll be on that. I hope to push for that title, but nothing if officially confirmed yet.”
With the title currently vacant, it seems a question of when and not if McKenna will get a shot.
From the Welsh Valleys to California.
A popular fighter, with elite talent who will only improve. Cage Warriors appeared to have unearthed yet another diamond destined for big things. McKenna is an army kid from a fighting family. Her father a soldier, her mother a former MMA fighter.
The soft-spoken teenager first entered the world of combat sports at age 10 as a hobby, but quickly realized a deep passion that has taken her to where she is today.
“I started karate when I was 10, as a hobby. A year or so later I started Thai Boxing and Jujitsu classes. Once I started enjoying all the disciplines I moved to an MMA and decided that’s what I want to do the rest of my life”.
She now spends her time going back and forth between Wales and California to ensure she has the best training and sparring possible. “I train at Tillery Combat in Wales. I also train at Alpha Male in California,” said McKenna. “I go for long periods [to America].” The strawweight will be in the States for 12 weeks in July.
“It’s no different than training back home really, they just have smaller people for me. The quality is not too different, as I train with the top gyms in the UK. In terms of sparring partners and the number of sparring partners, there is an amount every day for me work with which is the main reason I go out there, as here I only have one or two”.
A single loss on her record, she dropped a split decision last year to Micol Di Segni (7-2) who is scheduled to appear on Dana White’s Contender series in August, pouring cold water on a potential rematch.
McKenna appears unfazed by the defeat as she openly discussed the fight, what went wrong and seemed relaxed about a potential rematch. “If our paths cross again, I’m never one to shy away from a fight,” said McKenna. “I think 9 times out of 10 I would have stopped that fight, I just left it a little too late.”
A young fighter with big ambitions, Cory McKenna simply wants to be the best and is happy to do whatever it takes to get there.
“I want to prove I’m the best in the world. I believe that already and I know it’s going to be true, but I want to prove it…. Whether that means moving onto the UFC, or somewhere else. I just want to fight the best opponents wherever that may be. Right now, that’s Cage Warriors.”
Calling for a title at just 19 years old may seem bold or even rushed, but when you hear McKenna speak about her fight experience, it all makes perfect sense. “There will be 30-year-old women out there with less experience than me. I’ve been fighting since I was 14, in terms of actual cage experience, I am much more matured in my career than my age,” said McKenna. “At the same time, I’m in no rush with plenty of years ahead of me.”
Whether it’s a title shot next or she’s made to wait a while longer, it is a matter of time before Cory McKenna gets her hands on Cage Warriors gold. Once she does, the sky is the limit for this potential superstar.
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The Scrap’s Jordan Ellis of Liverpool, UK is a lifelong fight fan and aspiring writer. Covering all things MMA and Boxing, you can follow him on Twitter (@JordanEllisUK) for daily fight news and content.