Liverpool’s Jack McGann is looking to represent ‘the greatest fighting city’ when he faces Russian Abdulla Dadaev at Eurasia Fight Nights Global 50 on UFC Fight Pass.
McGann has travelled to Saint Petersburg, Russia to feature on Friday’s EFN 50 card headlined by “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko taking on Brazil’s Fábio Maldonado.
Originally scheduled to fight June, 4 in Dublin, Ireland against UFC veteran Paul Redmond, BAMMA’s new medical procedures forced the card to be pushed back to September 10.
The Scouser’s last fight took place at BAMMA 23: Night of Champions in November of last year which saw McGann defeated by tough Frenchman Damien Lapilus. It was a realisation of many sorts for McGann, mainly being that he needed to take a break from competitive MMA.
“That fight with Damien Lapilus, I lost to the better man on the night but if you think that performance reflects my ability as a fighter, then you’re wrong, that’s just a fraction of what I can do. I wasn’t myself on the night, I was burnt out. The Lapilus fight was my sixth fight in a year, I was just burnt out, I needed a break.”
Now set to compete in his first professional match-up in seven months, “The Pilgrim” is relishing the opportunity to return to action whilst representing his city of Liverpool.
“It’s a great opportunity you know, I’ve been most places around the world, I like to travel and stuff and see new places,” said McGann. “To go to Russia ticks a box and especially to fight with Fedor [Emelianenko] I didn’t think that was ever going to happen with the age and stuff. That’s a good honour and it’s a big massive event, so it ticks all the boxes for me.”
With Fedor’s footprint deeply entrenched in MMA history through his experiences in Pride Fighting Championships and Strikeforce, McGann admits the influence the Russian has had on his career resonates with many mixed martial artists.
“I think go find somewhere where someone doesn’t like Fedor and I’ll give you a ‘tenner’, I’ll give you more, I’ll be surprised, probably ask someone who their favourite fighter is and Fedor was probably on their list. It’s an honour to fight on the same card as him.”
Still only 23-years-old, EFN 50 will spell the first time McGann has travelled outside of the UK and Ireland for a major fight. For any fighter looking to extend their experience, it is a critical skirmish for McGann to test himself against some of the best athletes from around the world.
His opponent, Russian Dadaev is unbeaten in his last six bouts. Known as a submission specialist, he has a strong wrestling base and will aim to out-grapple the Brit.
McGann explained: “I could have took a little fight in England somewhere but no, we pushed our luck a little bit and had a look around. It wasn’t hard to find. It’s easier to take the normal path of local fights rather than get the big one overseas. This is an experience for me, I know I’ve fought in Dublin but this will be my first real international fight, if I have any more fights way again then I’m used to it more.”
Football fever is currently taking over Europe, with Euro 2016 firmly underway. England and Russia have already been embroiled in battles on and off the pitch in France, but McGann is extremely confident that there will be no such issues when he meets ‘respectful’ Russian MMA fans.
“I think Russians are very respectful people,” said McGann. “I know the football and that shit at the weekend wouldn’t affect it, I think they are very respectful people and I don’t think I’ll have any problems like that.”
Making the journey to enemy territory, McGann hopes to represent his city of Liverpool with pride as he leads the line for Scouse fighters looking to break into the next tier of elite level MMA.
“It’s literally the greatest fighting city,” McGann described Liverpool. “A couple of years ago there was a couple of lads in the UFC who were doing really well but we just haven’t been for quite a while now.
“With me and Paddy [Pimblett] and Darren Till, so hopefully we can be the next sort of wave to come through but Liverpool is a great fighting city, look at the boxers at the minute, there’s two world champions in Liverpool now and I love my city more than anything and I’ll do anything to represent it well.
“I don’t know what it is, it’s just the Scousers have always had this thing where they excel in fighting and combat sports. It’s probably a snowball thing the likes of the Smith brothers in boxing now, boxers form around here look up to them and then it keeps going. We always come to fight.”
EFN 50 takes place Friday, June 17 on UFC Fight Pass from 3pm GMT.