Roxanne Modafferi was the biggest underdog on the entire UFC 246 card, entering the cage for her fight with Maycee Barber at +600.
Yet the 39-fight veteran got the job done by unanimous decision winning, every single round including one 10-8 round on one judge’s scorecard.
It was a performance nobody except Modafferi and her team saw coming.
“It is such a relief and I’m so happy with my performance for this fight,” Modafferi told BJPENN.com. “I really had so much confidence after the first round. I’ve been working on my technique and power behind my strikes and I was surprised how effective they were. It went like boom. I hit her and I expected a punch back but nothing. So, my strikes were more effective than I thought.”
Although Modafferi got the job done, many people were talking about Barber after the fact, as she tore her ACL in the fight. When the doctor came into the Octagon in between the second and third round “The Happy Warrior” was confused as to what was going on. But, there was never a thought to attack Barber’s injured knee and try to injure it some more.
“I was very puzzled. I’ve never seen them check someone’s limb like that before. My coaches were yelling at me to keep it standing because her knee is hurt. Not once did it cross my mind to kick that knee,” Modafferi explained. “I think that it comes from my philosophy as a martial artist. My goal is to make someone give up without causing them pain. That’s why I love jiu-jitsu and chokes and armbars because you can make them tap and beat them but they aren’t hurt.
“So, not once did it cross my mind to kick the knee. But, I was totally willing to take advantage of it as she was less mobile. I was going to move more, strike more. I wanted to keep is standing. But, then she fell down and I was like alright I’m going down to do my jiu-jitsu game on her.”
Even though Barber got hurt, Modafferi was winning the fight before the injury. So Modafferi knows that can’t be an excuse fans use about this fight as the reason why she won.
Although Modafferi got the win, she isn’t totally happy with it as Barber did suffer an injury and her entire goal is to make sure no one gets hurt.
“I do wish she hadn’t gotten hurt but not because of the reason you said [so fans couldn’t say you only won because of the injury]. The reason is because I don’t want anybody to get hurt. I want to beat my opponent without causing them pain,” she said. “It was an accident and now she is pain and has to sit out months and months or almost a year and that is a shame.”
What was weird for Roxanne Modafferi was after the fight, Barber took the mic away from her to say she made Modafferi shine.
“She took the mic [to say] that it was an honor to fight me which was cool. She then said she apologized for her performance but it made Roxanne shine,” she said. “I kind of felt like she sort of said I only looked good because her knee was hurt. But, I thought she is young and didn’t think that one through. I was winning before her knee got hurt anyway.”
In the end, Modafferi says a ton of people have reached out to her to let her know they made hundreds or thousands of dollars betting her. She says it is amazing the support she gets but knows the path to the top doesn’t stop here.
The hope for Modafferi is to stay active but she doesn’t care who she fights next. Instead, she has a simple message. Line them up.
“I’m not afraid of anyone in the flyweight division that can actually make weight. Whoever the UFC wants to put me against I shall take them down so line them up.”
Who do you think Roxanne Modafferi should fight next after her win over Maycee Barber?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/22/2020.