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SHANGHAI – As far as UFC debuts go, Gina Mazany had one she’d probably like to forget.
The only problem is, even though so many things worked against her, and even though she left Canada with a 74-second submission loss, she finds herself looking back at her loss to Olympic medalist Sara McMann with a way to take some positives out of it.
“Everything was riding against me,” Mazany told MMAjunkie today of her short-notice fight with McMann at UFC Fight Night 105 in February. “I was fighting a top opponent, short notice, cut a lot of weight, got sick – it sucked. But the thing I pulled from it is that I really believed in myself. I really believed I was going to win that fight, and I think that’s something you can’t teach. … I’m a lot stronger (in my head) than I thought I was, so it was nice to see that.”
On Saturday, Mazany (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) returns – this time with a full camp, and under some more normal circumstances – against Yanan Wu (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 122, which takes place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.
The only thing not really normal about it is it’s all the way in Shanghai for the UFC’s debut in mainland China. That means a crazy flight for someone like Mazany to fight Wu on her home turf. But even that isn’t so bad, she said, because she regularly has cornered her brother, Dave Mazany, whose most recent five fights have been for EFC in South Africa.
Wu should get a home-country pop from the fans, and that’s OK with Mazany.
“I’m so excited for this fight because I think my opponent is perfect for me,” she said. “I really couldn’t have had a more perfect girl put in front of me. I think it’ll be a good fight. My first thought was, I’m a big pro wrestling fan, and I’m a big fan of heels. There’s nothing better than going into someone’s backyard (as a villain). There’s not as much pressure.
“She obviously has a good following here and she’s been doing very well here, so that to me is no problem. … I was stoked to get the call, and obviously to visit China is amazing. It’s all just been a great experience so far.”
And if there does happen to be a little pressure on her to get her first UFC win? Well, so be it. After all:
“I feel like there are a little bit more eyes on me right now. They say when you put pressure on coal, that makes a diamond. … I’m just excited to scrap.”
For more from Mazany, check out the video above.
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