Bellator 294: Arlene Blencowe Knows Sara McMann Wants to Make Statement In Debut, But “That’s Not Happening On My Watch”


It’s been a year between fights for three-time Bellator women’s featherweight title challenger Arlene Blencowe, who finally returns to action at Bellator 294 this Friday night in Honolulu.

That’s the scene of her last fight, in fact, a rematch with Cris Cyborg that saw the Australian go the distance with the champ, ultimately losing a decision.

“The year’s gone really, really quick. Yeah, 363 days, it’s a lot longer than what I would have liked that’s for sure,” Blencowe told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “I was hoping to get back in the cage sort of end of last year. Gosh, I’d fight every couple of months if I could. But anyway, here we are, just over a week out, so focusing on what’s ahead now. Don’t worry about what’s in the past.”

Blencowe, who trains in New Mexico with the likes of Holly Holm, understands the difficulty getting booked, even though she’d love to be more active. “I am at the top of the ladder in the rankings, it is harder to match me. And I have fought most of the girls, but there are some girls I haven’t fought. At the moment, I’m focusing on this fight ahead and whatever happens, happens next. There’s opportunities in the boxing world that seem to be presenting themselves to me as well. For now, I’m just going to have this fight and see what happens after that.”

The fight ahead sees Blencowe welcome former UFC bantamweight title challenger Sara McMann, an Olympic silver medallist, to Bellator. The caliber of opponent she’s drawn is not lost on Blencowe, who has fought wrestlers before — but never one with Olympic gold.

“Silver medallist at the Olympics for wresting is no slouch. A lot of my opponents have tried to take me down. Julia Budd’s a very strong wrestler, but she’s not an Olympic medallist. Pam Sorenson dropped and tried to take me down, but she’s not an Olympic wrestler,” Blencowe noted. “Gabby Holloway tried to wrestle me the whole time. Those girls were all very strong wrestlers, but to be an Olympic medallist, that’s a pedigree, that’s a very good achievement. Shes been an athlete for a very long time, [since] 2004. I was a mum to a three-year old at that stage.”

Summing up her opponent, Blencowe added that “she’s an accomplished athlete, she’s been able to combine her wrestling and become a mixed martial artist, evolve. Very good fights in the UFC. Even the fights that she lost she was very competitive, and she looked great.”

But while she respects McMann’s pedigree and knows she’ll be looking to start her Bellator career with a bang, Blencowe is equally ready to shut that down.

“It’ll be an exciting fight. It’s her first fight for the promotion, so she’s going to be wanting to come in and make a statement,” said Blencowe. “That’s not happening on my watch.”

Watch our full interview with Bellator 294 featherweight Arlene Blencowe above.


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