Transgender people in sports have been a topic of debate for quite some time now.

Most recently, the debate and conversation was centred around New Zealand's Olympic weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard, who made history as the first ever trans athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.

Hubbard, who was born male, competed as a woman in the Olympics, causing quite the stir. While many championed the Olympic committee inclusion of trans people, others felt like it was wholly unfair to have a biological male competing against females.

However despite the controversy and drama, it all came to an end quite quickly after Hubbard suffered a disappointing early exit from the women's +87 kg final after three no lifts in the snatch.

Now, there's another conversation following transgender fighter, Alana McLaughlin's MMA debut last night.

McLaughlin, the second openly transgender woman to compete in MMA in the United States, won her debut Friday night via submission at the Combate Global prelims in Miami, Florida.

The 38-year-old, who was assigned male at birth, left the US Special Forces back in 2018, and wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to being a pioneer for trans athletes in sport.

In her debut, McLaughlin used a rear-naked choke against Celine Provost to end the match 3 minutes, 32 seconds into the second round.

Speaking after her victory, McLaughlin referred to Fallon Fox, who in 2012 became the first transgender woman to fight in MMA.

McLaughlin said:

I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down. Right now, I'm following in Fallon's footsteps. I'm just another step along the way and it's my great hope that there are more to follow behind me.

McLaughlin began training a year ago and was cleared to fight by the Florida State Boxing Commission after having her hormone levels tested, according to ESPN.

However as you can probably imagine, she said it was a "nightmare" finding an opponent.

McLaughlin said: "I have nothing but respect for [Provost]."

McLaughlin's debut comes after years of controversy surrounding trans athletes, and more recently the multiple bills which have emerged aimed at restricting transgender athletes from participating in youth, high school and college sports.

Speaking on the matter, McLaughlin said:

If we want to see more trans athletes, if we want to see more opportunities for trans kids, we're going to have to work out way into those spaces and make it happen. It's time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalized.

What do you think?