Leah McCourt: Saintfield fighter treating Bellator headline bout as 'business as usual'

Leah McCourt
McCourt secured the first stoppage of her career against Hatice Ozyurt in February 2019

Leah McCourt is treating Saturday's Bellator Dublin fight against Judith Ruis as "business as usual" despite it being the main event.

The Saintfield featherweight's clash with the German was given top billing after James Gallagher pulled out of his bout with Cal Ellenor with an injury.

It will make McCourt the first female to headline a Bellator Europe event.

"It was surreal and emotional when I got the call to say I was headlining," McCourt told BBC Sport NI.

"There has been so much hard work and sacrifice leading me to this moment.

"It has probably come three years earlier than I would have expected. Given the journey I have been on, this will make every single second worthwhile.

"However, I don't think I will take it all in fully until after the fight - I have to treat it as 'business as usual' as best I can. It's on the same night that I had been planning for, in the same arena with the same crowd which has always been my focus."

Leah McCourt
McCourt is looking for her third victory in Dublin

Saturday's fight at the 3Arena will be the first of a six-fight deal that McCourt signed with Bellator in November, after she took her professional record to 3-1 when she defeated England's Kerry Hughes in Dublin in September.

The 27-year-old holds a perfect record in Dublin, having secured first-round wins against Hatice Ozyurt and Kerry Hughes there in 2019.

Ruis will be making her debut for Bellator having enjoyed her first set of back-to-back wins in 2019, with four of her six career wins coming via submission.

"She has an experienced record and is a bit of a grappler, but I tend not to over-think my opponents," McCourt added.

"I just can't wait to get in there, hear the cage door lock and start performing the way I know I can. I don't focus on one particular area, there are so many ways to win a fight and that's what makes MMA so exciting."

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