POOLE-based mixed martial artist Molly McCann admits Ronda Rousey is her inspiration and has vowed to join the former bantamweight champion in the UFC.

Ex King's Park Academy and Avonbourne College pupil McCann is tonight due to take on the United States' Anjela Pink in her fifth professional fight.

The 26-year-old, who trains at Ippon Gym in Bournemouth, retained her Shock N Awe flyweight title against Macecilia Benkhettache in October.

And speaking ahead of her latest outing in her home town of Liverpool, McCann revealed Rousey's exploits in the UFC had proved the catalyst for her move from boxing to MMA.

McCann told the Daily Echo: "I came home from a night out and turned the TV on and Ronda Rousey was fighting for her first title in the UFC.

"After the fight I went on YouTube and looked into it a little bit more and then I realised what she was about, what she had just done and how much money she had made. I thought, 'I want to do that'.

"I used to do boxing training in an MMA gym with a coach called Paul Rimmer. I sent him a message saying, 'Paul, I want to be Ronda Rousey' and he told me to get down the gym the following day."

Nicknamed 'Meatball', the legacy of working at Subway while at university in Liverpool, McCann's long-term goal is to join the UFC.

The Dorset resident, who estimates she can hit as hard as a 66kg man, added: "Anyone who fights has got a reason for fighting.

"When I started in MMA I wanted to go to the UFC and although they didn't have my weight class, I knew by the time I was ready to be there, I would be there.

"By the end of next year, maybe early 2018, you can bet your house I will be there. I've just got to get a few more bouts under my belt."

Outside the octagon, McCann hopes to raise awareness of charities including the Christchurch-based Isabel Baker Foundation and also Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

She remains grateful to Forest Holme Hospice, whose staff cared for her father Paul Pearson prior to his death aged 50 from liver cancer ahead of her previous fight.

McCann would like to thank her sponsors – The Funky Peach and Scramble.