Still unbeaten, Maycee Barber plans to take career 'a little bit different' from Ronda Rousey
NASHVILLE – Maycee Barber knows her performance at UFC on ESPN+ 6 was far from flawless, but she’s OK with that.
The 20-year-old Barber (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is considered among the top prospects in MMA. She got her toughest test to date in a matchup with J.J. Aldrich (7-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and was forced to overcome early adversity en route to a second-round TKO victory on Saturday.
She would’ve preferred to take zero damage in the octagon, but Barber can see the upside in the reality.
“I couldn’t ask for a better (performance),” Barber told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN+ 6. “A lot of people would be like, ‘I wish that never happened.’ Part of me does, but at least in my head I’m glad that happened because it proves to a lot of people that I’m a tough fighter, and that’s what people want to see. People don’t want to see all successes; they want to see the ups and downs, and that’s the sport I perform in, and as much as it sucks, it’s something I’m glad happened.”
The bout with Aldrich marked Barber’s debut in the UFC women’s flyweight division. She kicked off her octagon tenure at strawweight but opted to move up after putting stress on her body with an extremely restricted diet.
Barber hasn’t ruled out a return to 115 pounds in the future, but she likes the way she felt in the cage with 10 extra pounds on her frame.
“I’m powerful at 115, but I’m a different fighter at 125,” Barber said. “I’m slowly becoming a healthier version of myself. I definitely possess dropping power at 125.”
With the nickname “The Future,” Barber has laid out her career ambitions from the jump. She wants to break Jon Jones’ record for youngest champion in UFC history and become a bigger star in the sport than either Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey.
That’s setting the bar extremely high, but Barber thinks she can pull it off given her mindset.
“I’m a completely different person from Ronda, and that’s no disrespect to her,” Barber said. “She’s a phenomenal athlete, phenomenal fighter and she had an amazing career, but I want to take my career a little bit different. But if I ever do get a loss – which I’m going to continue to fight to make sure I never get one – but if I ever do, I hope I can come back a little bit differently than she did. But we’ll see. I’m hoping to not take that loss.”
Ultimately, Barber’s performance at UFC on ESPN+ 6 will likely only serve to further add to her hype, and she said she’s ready for it all.
“I’m kind of the face for us up-and-coming fighters who are well-rounded, who are tough and we work hard and we’re coming to finish it,” Barber said. “We’re the whole new breed of athletes that are coming.”
After the big win, Barber said she isn’t looking for a substantial amount of time off. She’s looking for a summer return, ideally on the UFC’s annual International Fight Week showcase.
“International Fight Week was the goal, but we’ll see,” Barber said. “I’ll talk to the team, we’ll talk to everyone. I feel like I’m going to start making the card big, so no matter what card you put me on, it’s going to be big.”
To hear more from Barber, check out the video above.
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