By Caoilte de Barra
This Friday, Leah McCourt (5-1) returns to action in the Co-Main Event of Bellator 267 against Jessica Borga in London, England. The Belfast fighter returns to fight in Europe for the first time since Bellator 240 in Dublin, which saw her defeat a tough Judith Ruis in the card’s headliner.
The Bellator MMA fan favourite has fought on one occasion since then, making her US debut in a winning performance against Janay Harding in a much different setting to the last. The fight had the added factor of taking place behind closed doors.
Speaking with Bellator MMA ahead of the Borga fight, she explained how she is happy with how this camp has been smoother and is excited to be welcomed by the fans in Wembley Arena.
“My favourite place to fight is in Europe, obviously we have the best fans and I’m so excited to be fighting in London.
“Obviously in Connecticut, we had no fans. It was a bit different. We were still in the middle of the pandemic and the gyms weren’t really open. There were a lot of barriers to get to that fight but this time it has been a lot smoother and more comfortable, it’s closer to home.”
Prior to turning pro, “The Curse” was very active in IMMAF competition, going undefeated across two competitions. In 2015 she secured the European Open title at Lightweight before adding a World Gold medal at Featherweight to the collection a year later.
Across both competitions, the potential to see a finish was always high when McCourt entered the cage. Her ability to finish a fight was exceptional with 4 of 5 fights ending within the distance, be it via submission or TKO/KO.
That ability to finish prevailed once again in her last professional bout when she finished Harding with a Triangle Choke. The win came following some adversity in the fight but McCourt’s self-belief and hard work resulted in her being able to overcome that and score another win.
“My belief system has always been that no matter who you’re against, what happened, there’s a way to win. There’s always a way to win, I think that’s a testament to the hours on the mats. Getting that position is hundreds of being put in a bad position at the gym.
“I’ve always had a killer instinct, I’ve always known I’ve had that ability to finish and when to finish. I feel that in my fights you’ll be able to tell that.”
This Friday, McCourt hopes to bring back some of the fighting style she displayed as an amateur and take one step closer to her destiny of being a World Champion.
“I want to go out and flow and enjoy it and show that I can fight in every area and be dominant in every area. I was more kind of aggressive in my amateur days, I want to bring that back. I fight smart but I want to get into a fight as well.”