Bellator 259: Leah McCourt on Experience Gap at Featherweight


Heading into Bellator 259 this Friday, Leah McCourt was asked why Judo makes such a good MMA base.

While not as common as wrestling or even jiu-jitsu, standout judo fighters like Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison have flourished in MMA over the years.

“Judo, I think the physicality of it, and the technique. And you have to have a lot of balance,” McCourt explained, noting that when you do that from a young age, and get into “quick grappling exchanges or clinches or scrambles, you have that solid foundation and technique and balance in your own body.”

McCourt is paired up with Janay Harding at Bellator 259, and enters the fight on a four-fight win streak. While Cat Zingano may be up next for the winner of Friday’s Cris Cyborg vs. Leslie Smith featherweight title fight, a win for McCourt puts her within striking distance of a title shot.

That, despite having just a handful of fights.

“I think I’ve had the least experience in the whole division,” McCourt admitted. “I think I had only four fights and I was headlining an arena last year. It’s nice to have that recognition, but it comes down to me and my performance every fight. I just need to shoot up that level every time I fight.”

That said, the 4-1 28-year old known as “The Curse” recognizes the opportunity in front of her.

“There’s a bit of a gap in the division between the experience in the lower rankings and the higher,” observed McCourt. “And for me to get there, I need to jump up every fight and show so much more of my skill level.”

Watch the full Bellator 259 media day scrum with Leah McCourt above. The event takes place this Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.


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