Maycee Barber returning after injury. Set to fight Alexa Grasso at UFC 258

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UFC fans have not heard from highly touted prospect Maycee Barber since the fallout from her bout with Roxanne Modafferi all the way back in January. Earlier this week, Line Movement’s James Lynch caught up with Barber to see what she has been up to in her time off, when she will be making her return, as well as a variety of other topics the fans have been wanting to know. 

So when will Maycee Barber make her long-awaited return to the octagon?

“We have been talking about that. I would like to get cleared in October. I have to get cleared both strength wise, mobility wise, and then MRI. So, that has to come first, and then I have a timeline. I could see myself fighting, maybe if we’re pushing at the end of December, but that would be putting me in a camp like now. But I’m not cleared, so I want to start a camp as soon as I get cleared, if that makes sense.“

Maycee Barber to fight Alexa Grasso at UFC 258

Upcoming Fight Versus Alexa Grasso:

Mayce Barber will square off with Alexa Grasso (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 258: Usman vs Burns on February 13th, 2021. Both fighters will look to be more active in 2021, as each only competed once in 2020. Barber lost a decision to Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246: McGregor vs Cerrone in January of last year and will look to rebound in this spot, while Grasso defeated Ji Yeon Kim via unanimous decision in late August at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Rakic. 

Mexico’s Grasso has some of the fastest hands in the division and will look to light up Maycee Barber in every exchange. For “The Future” Barber, it will be imperative to let Grasso feel her power on the feet and establish the takedown game to get this fight to the mat. Grasso has 63% takedown defense in her UFC career and has allowed 12 completed takedowns against her in a 7 fight UFC sample size. While on paper it says that Barber actually lands more volume than her opponent, Grasso has the much crisper boxing technique in this matchup. 

A win for either lady would be huge in this spot. 

Odds currently have Alexa Grasso as a -150 favorite with the comeback on Maycee Barber at +130. The line flipped, as Barber opened around the -130 slight favorite mark. It’s safe to say recency bias is a real thing, with many parlay bettors looking for “vengeance” after getting burnt during Barber’s last fight. 

For Maycee “The Future” Barber, simply getting a win, and re-establishing herself as one of the young up and comers in women’s MMA is crucial. Prior to her upset loss to Modafferi, the 22-year-old Barber claimed she would beat Jon Jones record for the youngest champion in UFC history. Barber turns 23 in May. 

If Alexa Grasso defeats Barber, not only will she extend her win streak to two fights in a row, but the 27-year-old will prove she is ready to get back to fighting the elite of the division. With only one fight in the last year for both ladies, a dominant win in this bout might not only show the progress they’ve made in their respective games during the interim, but could also re-validate some of the high expectations fans had for both ladies entering their UFC careers.

On Angela Hill’s development:

“..Angela Hill has evolved so much and she continues to evolve and she’s trained and fought so many times in the last.. I think it’s like since 2017 she’s had more fights than any other fighter. I mean she’s been super active and you can see she’s not just active and just fighting and not getting better, like she’s continually getting better. So it was fun to watch her and then Michelle, obviously, you know she’s kind of digging down deep and trying to go for that mom champ. So, I mean it was a really fun fight to watch. I think both fighters went out there and you can tell they were giving it everything they got which from a fan perspective and from a fighter perspective, I give them a ton of respect.. I don’t think that every fighter necessarily goes out to do that.. These girls were throwing, and they were going at it so it was fun to watch. I think it could have gone either way. I can see them giving Michelle the win but I could also have seen them giving Angela the win, so that was a great fight”

On Roxanne Modafferi vs Andrea Lee:

“I thought it was a fitting matchup obviously just based off of the rankings and the division. I was paying half attention to it, but at the time I mean, obviously , I watched that fight and I get frustrated because I’m like ‘man I want to go out there and fight.’ It just brings up, obviously, my fight. I thought it was a pretty good fight as well. Honestly, I thought it could have been a draw. I definitely thought that it could have gone the other way, but I could also see Roxanne winning it. I was actually just talking to a friend but I noticed Roxanne always has this pattern. It’s like she wins one, she loses one, she wins one, she loses one, and it’s crazy but she still keeps going so good for her, and I’m sure Andrea will come back.”

It’s always interesting to hear a fighters perspective when they watch past opponents compete. Especially ones that have defeated them. This past weekend at UFC Vegas 10, Barber’s most recent opponent, Roxanne Modafferi, defeated Andrea Lee. Maycee Barber watched the fight, and definitely pictured herself mixing it up with her former foe. 

James Lynch w/ Maycee Barber

Watching Modafferi vs Lee, thinking it could’ve been her in there:

“I definitely thought things. I’m like ‘how?’ I mean in my mind. It’s hard to answer because I never once.. when I was watching that fight I wasn’t like, ‘how did I lose this?’ I wasn’t like that because I knew that I had an injury. But I was watching the fight, and anytime I watch a fight I always pick people apart.  I’m like, ‘oh man this is what they’re doing, this is what she should be doing. And I just felt like Roxanne, in my opinion, when Andrea was going back and forth, Andrea moves a lot, but then when she goes to throw, she stops moving. And so I feel like she moves a lot and then Roxanne just has it to where anytime Andrea stopped moving to the center, she took her down. It’s definitely one of those where you start fidgeting around like, ‘I want to go back, I should have been doing that,’  but it’s really hard to speak on that fight specifically just because of when I think about my fight and my life, all I can like picture is my knee, and then just picture a big hospital..”

Has Maycee gone back and rewatched her last fight with Modafferi?

“ I have actually several times. Yeah, I’ve watched it back, and I’m so proud of my performance. Again, it’s one of those fights where I pick myself apart more in my wins than I do in my loss. So if I say go back and watch that I’m like ‘why didn’t you do that like I can?’ I can be a lot harder on myself in those fights. I’ll watch them right now and I’ll just pick it apart, and I’ll laugh at myself but in this last fight, when I watch it I’m like, ‘I know why I didn’t do that.’ I can’t question myself because I knew what I wanted to do and I just knew that I couldn’t do it so it’s hard to watch and nitpick.”

This weekend at UFC Vegas 11, Barber’s teammate Gerald Meerschaert competes against the highly touted prospect Khamzat Chimaev. Meerschaert is the biggest underdog on the entire card, and according to many, is being disrespected at the betting window. Interestingly enough, Meerschaert has more than 5x the experience as Chimaev, and opened as a near +400 underdog. 

On her teammate Gerald Meerschaert being the biggest underdog at UFC Vegas 11:

“I mean, the first time I saw Gerald and talked to him was yesterday and today, just texting back and forth and then today I saw him in the gym. But for me, I haven’t paid a ton of attention, other than seeing whats on social media. I’m always gonna support the guys I’ve trained with and been behind. And I definitely think I can see the frustration and I could see that the issue of Gerald being like, ‘how can you look past me?’ because he tries hard and he works hard. He’s good and you know he is a seasoned vet in the division. So, I can definitely see the frustration and I can feel it for him. But at the same time, I feel like that’s kind of thing when he goes out there and if he wins, you know he’ll be able to be like ‘it just doesn’t feel that much better.’ But then again, I’ve also looked past my opponents too, so I can see it on both sides. I’m definitely on the side of supporting Gerald.”

On Paige VanZant competing in Bare Knuckle Boxing:

“I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell people what they can and can’t do, or what they should or shouldn’t do. I’ve seen little clips on Instagram of her interviews, or someone sent me a clip, but I don’t see a lot of her social media, so I kind of found out late. She blocked me on Instagram a while ago when I was talking about her. So for her, if that’s what she wants to do, go for it. I noticed she said that she doesn’t mind getting cut up and getting bloodied and she can afford plastic surgery. So that’s what you want to do, go for it. But I don’t like the bare knuckle boxing to begin with… For the cosmetic reasons, I feel like you’re not just going in there and getting hit with a blunt force trauma. It’s less of that. It’s more of a cosmetic damage, so I feel like you’re gonna have less fights. You won’t be able to fight as frequently because if you get cut, you have to wait for it to heal. And if you get multiple cuts, you have to wait for them to heal. So then I feel like your turnaround time is not as much, but I mean if the pay is good, take one fight and get outt.”

Would Maycee ever consider trying out Bare Knuckle Boxing?

“I mean if the money is good for anything. I’ve had people ask me ‘would you ever do WWE? Would you ever do Bare Knuckle Boxing?’ I mean, everything is hypothetical.. Like, I’m not saying I’m gonna take the title or win the championship (In Bare Knuckle Boxing), but yeah I don’t know, it’s hard to say yes or no. Because I’m not in that situation. I am hoping and I’m planning on working and going after this (UFC) title and setting myself up in a way, and living the right way so that I am able to not have to feel like, ‘okay, now that my UFC career is over, now I have to go to Bare Knuckle Boxing because I didn’t make any money.’ You know what I mean? I feel like my platform, my career, I’m going to train and continue on my own journey and and work and be successful in my own fighting career and hopefully.. not ever have to work after that and not have to do something like that.”

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Dan Levi has gained a reputation as MMA's premiere handicapper by consistently going against the grain with a sharpshooter approach that has coined him one of the top underdog players in the industry. Boasting an over 5 year sample size & track record, Levi has proven that he can deliver a profit year after year. Even in his toughest years, Levi still ended in the green. Host of the weekly show “Half The Battle,” Levi can be found giving entertaining & insightful analysis on the fights every single week. Levi gives back to the fight community by sponsoring over 7 professional & amateur fighters, as well as handling commentary duties for the NFC, the Southeast’s #1 regional MMA promotion. A true student of the game, Levi is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt under Professor Gui Cury. All true fans of mixed martial arts can count on Levi to provide a one-of-a-kind listening experience with his unique, enthusiastic approach.