In 2018, Maycee Barber made her highly anticipated UFC debut with an impressive finish over Hannah Cifers. But thanks to incredible performances from Yair Rodriguez, “The Korean Zombie” and Donald Cerrone, she wasn’t awarded a bonus for her efforts.
The competitor in Barber hasn’t forgot that November night in Denver, and as soon as she found out she was fighting on a card that “Cowboy” was headlining, she had to send Cerrone a warning.
“I told him that bonus is mine,” Barber laughed. “And he told me, ‘Don’t touch my bonus.’”
Barber’s competitive nature is something that her teammates at Roufusport in Milwaukee have noticed as well. Paul Felder believes that Barber’s mentality is her biggest weapon and he has experienced first-hand just how motivated Barber is to achieve her goals.
“She’s in this to truly be the youngest champion in the UFC. Love it or hate it, I don’t care what your opinion is, but when you see her and who she is personally and how she’s driven and what she does, she’s beyond her age in how she sets things up,” Felder says. “We’ve even got some kind of inside competition going with each other, that if I run five miles and post it about it later that night, bet your ass she’ll send me a screenshot of the treadmill saying I did that but I went a little further than you. That’s her mentality.”
By setting the goal to become the youngest champion in UFC history, the 21 year-old Barber created a standard that she has to live up to.
And if you’ve had your eye on “The Future,” she’s definitely held up her end of the bargain since storming onto the scene. Barber, 8-0, has finished four straight opponents, including JJ Aldrich and Gillian Robertson, on her way to cracking the UFC’s women’s top ten flyweight rankings.
Barber is currently tied with Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg for the longest knockout streak in women's UFC history with three. One more knockout victory would give her that record.
On January 18, Barber will look to write her name in the UFC history books when she takes on veteran Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246.
“She’s someone to be respected,” Barber says of Modafferi. “She’s 37 years old and has 40 fights; that’s a long time in the game and in the sport. You know, I heard the other day that I was five [years old] when she started fighting, so to be the newest person in the women’s division and have one of the veterans of the women’s division, I think it’s a fight that’s super exciting.”
Barber’s focus in the lead-up to her showdown with Modafferi has been to continue her evolution as fighter. And she’s leaned on teammates like Felder and Anthony Pettis to add to her game.
“I’ve always looked up to Paul and the intensity that he brings to his fights and to training. Watching him hit pads is like watching a masterpiece and it inspires me to bring that to my game. Anthony has been helping out a ton and giving me a ton of advice on my own training,” says Barber. “Everything that I’ve been doing is helping me grow and that’s because I work hard to never be the same fighter that I was in the fight before.”
Barber believes that with a big win over Modafferi, combined with all these little additions to her game, that she is well on the path to fighting for the title by the end of 2020.
“That’s the plan…we’re hoping to take the title by the end of the year,” says Barber.
It’s safe to say that “The Future” has a clear vision of what 2020 has in store for her.
Make sure you tune into UFC 246 on ESPN at 8pm/5pm ETPT to watch Barber see if she can remain unbeaten against Modafferi.
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