Undefeated amateur prospect Cory McKenna is set to make her professional mixed martial arts debut under the BCMMA banner in November.
The news was exclusively revealed to MMA Plus on Wednesday evening and clarified that after seven wins as an amateur, McKenna will graduate to the pro ranks to face Maria Vittoria Colonna (3-1).
McKenna, 18, moves from flyweight down to strawweight and will feature as the co-main event on Cage Warriors Academy South East – BCMMA 20, which takes places at Charter Hall in Colchester on November 25.
Italian competitor Colonna is another athlete with amateur pedigree, having won a silver medal at the 2015 IMMAF World Championships.
In her last fight as an amateur, McKenna defeated former IMMAF World and European silver medal Anette Österberg. It was a closely contested bout, which saw McKenna come through to defeat the more experienced Fin by decision; winning her second amateur championship belt in the process.
“Turning pro is a question of experience; being 7-0 my coaches and I came to the mutual decision that it was time to make the transition,” McKenna told MMA Plus.
“It opens up many opportunities and I will also no longer have the struggle of finding an opponent.
“I’ve fought the highest level of girls, with my last two fights being at different weights against two separate silver world champions – being UK and Ireland ranked No.1, it only seems the natural progression.”
Three times during her amateur career McKenna was scheduled to face top Swedish flyweight Gabriella Ringblom, but amidst the hype, the fight failed to materialise. Whether or not it happens at pro level, McKenna admitted, is no longer important to her; as she initially looked to use the Swede to propel her up the amateur ladder.
Training out of BKK Fighters in Colchester, McKenna – who recently turned 18 – spent the summer training out at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, an experience which the young lion thoroughly cherished.
“The experience as a whole was amazing and one which I can’t wait to have again,” said McKenna, having trained with the likes of Urijah Faber and UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.
“All the coaches were the highest of levels – taking the time to give me some extra help – and I was able to work with all the high-level guys and girls – the level over there is second to none.
“It’s also very useful them all being my height and weight,” she laughed.
With plenty of promotions reportedly after her signature, McKenna – whose mother Wendy is also an MMA fighter – hailed Cage Warriors Academy platform BCMMA as the perfect stage for her pro debut.
“I have always said that BCMMA is one of the best shows in the UK – and that is evident in their becoming a Cage Warriors Academy,” she said.
“With how well they treat their fighters and their professionalism, it is the perfect platform for all level of fighters.”
Also announced, the BCMMA 20 main event will see Emrah Sonmez; who is the current lightweight title holder – vie for the professional featherweight championship against highly touted Dominic Dillon.
Two more amateur title fights are expected to be announced later this week.
Updated Cage Warriors Academy South East – BCMMA 20 Card
BCMMA Pro featherweight title: Emrah Sonmez (7-1) vs. Dominic Dillon (4-2)
Pro strawweight bout: Cory Mckenna (7-0 AM) vs. Maria Vittoria Colonna (3-1)
BCMMA Amateur middleweight title: Romain Delort (3-1) vs. Fraser Cook (4-0)
Amateur bantamweight: Tommy Asabre (3-2-1) vs. Jake Moore (3-2-1)
Amateur Women’s featherweight: Cindy Ferreira (1-0) vs. Charlotte McIntyre
Amateur Flyweight bout: Ben Iontton (1-2) vs. Luke John (0-1)