Maycee Barber’s return to the Octagon did not go her way.
In the co-main event of UFC 258, Barber fought Alexa Grasso in her first fight since she lost to Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246 in a fight she also tore her ACL. Entering the scrap, Barber didn’t think ring rust would be a factor but admits she had a hard time finding her timing in the first two rounds.
“You know, more than I thought I was going to. I felt like my camp went great, training was awesome, weight cut went great,” Barber said to BJPENN.com in her first interview since the loss. “But, I didn’t realize how much I would feel my knee in there and think about it. My timing was also off, my range was off. A lot of different things were not what I expected them to be. But, props to Alexa because she had a great gameplan and she did what she needed to do and she got the win.”
Although losing is disappointing for Barber, she admits it was a good learning experience for her. She is only 22-years-old and knows she will come back better than ever but says the loss is a bitter pill to swallow right now.
“I think I need to get punched a couple of times. The third round is when I got back into knowing what I am supposed to be doing. My timing was kind of back. The first and second rounds were kind of spent trying to figure it out… I’m definitely happy with how the third round went and I learned a lot,” Barber said. “Obviously, as soon as I lost I wanted to deal with it. There were no injuries, and I’m healthy so it was a bitter pill to swallow like ‘dang, I didn’t perform, I didn’t do what I felt was going to happen.’ I was a little more bitter, so I didn’t think back about the lessons. Now, I am going to sit down and go through the whole camp, the training, and what I can learn from it.”
Despite the loss, Maycee Barber is still a ranked fighter and knows she has the skillset to become a champion one day. The goal for Barber in 2021, however, has changed.
Originally, the plan for Barber was to fight Joanne Calderwood next and then for the title later this year. However, “The Future” is just trying to be active this year and hopes to return in May against whoever the UFC puts in front of her.
“I definitely want to fight as soon as I can. After the fight some things hurt, but now that a couple of days have passed I am feeling fine. I am going to get some things looked at just to check,” Maycee Barber said. “But, I would like to, I texted Dana and Mick, and ‘I was like I want to fight in May.’ I would like to turn around as soon as I can. I’m healthy and taking a year off sucked but coming back off a year sucked even more. So, the sooner I can get back in there the better and I think it will be helpful for me.”
Regardless of the outcome, Barber knows her goal of becoming UFC champion will still happen. However, the road to the top has taken a slight detour.
When she makes her return, Maycee Barber is also expecting to be a meaner version of herself and hunt for the finish more.
“The goal is to get back and fight. The destination is still the same. But, we just have another detour we need to go around,” Maycee Barber said. “The path might change a little bit but the title is still the goal in the long run and how we get there, whether it is beat a bunch more people and make some money or we will find out… There should be a lot of growth and you will see a lot more grittiness and a lot more going after it and finishing the girls. A meaner version.”
Who do you think Maycee Barber should fight next?