Maycee Barber plans on returning with a bang.
The women’s flyweight prospect hasn’t competed since UFC 246 in January last year where she tore her ACL during her unanimous decision defeat to Roxanne Modafferi.
It was her first professional defeat and along with surgery and the COVID-19 pandemic, it made 2020 a very challenging year for the 22-year-old.
“There was a lot,” Barber said during media day (via MMA Junkie). “I had the injury, then I had surgery, then COVID and the quarantine and a lot of different things, just as a fighter and an athlete. Being taken out of the gym and training, that’s hard because I went from being an athlete since I was 3 years old and training my entire life and being active to, ‘OK, now you’re out.’
“You can’t even walk unless you’re on crutches. You have a brace. You can’t do anything physical for a while, and it’s like, what do I do? What am I supposed to do with myself?”
Barber Was Fine With Social Media Backlash
Additionally, Barber received plenty of social media backlash following her upset defeat.
That’s partly because her goal of becoming the youngest champion in UFC history took a hit, but also because of the way she reacted to the defeat where she notably blamed the doctor for revealing her injury during the fight.
However, Barber didn’t pay too much attention to it as she still plans on fulfilling her goal.
“I try not to pay too much attention, because deep down I knew I was prepared to go into a fight,” Barber said. “You sign on the line to fight. You know, you’re saying, ‘I’m ready to get into the octagon with another person and get locked in the cage, and one of them is going to go down.’ I suffered an injury and I suffered a very bad one – I still am going to fight through it.
“People on the outside are always going to have something to say, whether it’s good or bad. The thing that matters is they have something to say – they have an opinion on it. … I didn’t really care if it was good or bad. It’s like, ‘Hey, they’re commenting.’”
Barber can take one step towards her goal with a win over ranked contender Alexa Grasso who she faces in the co-main event of UFC 258 this weekend.
The original co-main event was a middleweight bout between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall, but a positive COVID-19 test for the former led to it being scrapped.
Grasso vs. Barber was later promoted to co-main event status and the latter is excited about the number of eyeballs that will be on her fight against a tough opponent.
“She’s tough, you know?” Barber added. “She’s a great fighter. She’s strong, (has) a great following behind her, I’ve got a great following behind me – I think it’s a great fight. There’s going to be a lot of eyes – it’s co-main event. We have a great fight ahead of us. I’m super excited for it and I’m ready to go out and get a finish.”
UFC 258 takes place Saturday night at the Apex facility in Las Vegas. A welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns will headline the event.