Maycee Barber made her return to the Octagon at UFC 258 after spending more than a year away recuperating from a knee injury suffered in her fight against Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246. The loss to Modafferi was the first in her professional mixed martial arts career, so there was plenty of interest in seeing how she fared in her first fight back for a number of reasons.
Barber met fellow ranked contender Alexa Grasso in the co-main event of the card and lost a unanimous decision. Throughout the first and second rounds of the fight, Grasso was able to get the better of most of the exchanges on the feet and put in a lot of work in the clinch, but Barber was not completely out of it. She started to come back in the third round, but it was not enough.
“I’m definitely happy with how the third round went,” said Barber. “I feel like I learned a lot. Obviously as soon as I lost, I kind of wanted to just deal with it. That was my first — I guess when I lost against Roxanne I was also coming off of an injury, so I had a little bit less of bitterness towards it. I wasn’t as upset with myself because I knew that physically there was a reason why I wasn’t winning. This time around, there was no injuries [and] there was nothing. I’m healthy, so it was a little bit more of a bitter pill to swallow of like, dang. I just didn’t perform. I didn’t do what I felt like was going to happen and yeah.
“I was a little bit more bitter, so I didn’t really try to think back and try to take the lessons from it. I was just more bitter and upset, but now I’m going to sit down and go through the whole camp and training and try to pick out the lessons that I can learn from it.”
Barber plans on watching the fight with Grasso soon so that she can begin making her adjustments, but that is not the only plan she has set in motion. Having now lost her second straight fight, Barber is itching on getting back into the Octagon and has already texted the UFC brass about her next appearance.
“I definitely want to fight as soon as I can,” said Barber. “Obviously, I’m gonna go get — some of the things I felt after the fight, I was like, ‘Oh, this hurts or that hurts’ but now that a couple of days have gone by I’m like pretty much fine. I’m going to get some things looked at just to make sure and double check, but I would like to, I texted Dana [White] and Mick, and was like I want to fight in May. So, I’d like to turn around and fight as soon as I can. I’m healthy and taking a year off sucked, and coming back off a year sucked even more, so the sooner I can get back in there, the better. I think it’ll be helpful for me.”
As far as an opponent is concerned, Barber says she had a few names in mind, but is ready for whoever the UFC gives her because she remains resolute about completing her goal of being the youngest UFC champion by 2022.
Barber now sees her overall record sit at 8-2.