Before she got her scheduled fight against Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246, Maycee Barber was very public and open in her pursuit of a possible fight against Paige VanZant. For whatever the reason, the UFC decided to match Barber against Modafferi at next weekend’s UFC 246 event, while VanZant will face Amanda Ribas in March.
While a fight with VanZant would have been an easy way for more eyes to get on Barber who is ranked 9th in the flyweight division, a fight with Modafferi, who is ranked 7th in the division, makes more sense in Barber’s pursuit of a title.
A win over Modafferi could potentially leap Barber into the top-5 rankings of the division to start 2020 off, and if that were to happen, one of Barber’s coaches predicts it could be a big year for “The Future”.
Ben Askren recently made an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show for the “Helwani Nose Awards” episode and discussed what he’s been up to since retiring, and that includes coaching Maycee Barber who trains out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When asked about training with Barber, Askren clarified that he coaches her with her wrestling work, and then followed it up with a bold prediction for Barber.
“Well, I don’t actually train with her, I coach her, you know maybe show her how to do a technique,” Askren said. “She’s awesome, fantastic, she’s going to blast Roxy [Modafferi]. I think she’s going to get a title shot by the end of the year.”
When asked if Barber will have fought for the title by this time next year, Askren would go on to say he believes she’ll be champion by 2021 and doesn’t believe it’s much of a bold prediction.
“She’ll probably fight Roxy, then maybe Jessica Eye, someone in that range, then probably for the title.”
Askren was asked how he thinks a fight with Barber and champion Valentina Shevchenko would go down and he said with more time, he could see Barber earning a victory.
“It’ll be tough but November might be a different story, she’s only 21-years old, she’s getting a lot better really fast.”
Since earning a contract with the UFC on Dana White’s Contender Series, Barber has been public that her lifelong goal has been to beat the record set by light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and become the youngest UFC champion in the history of the promotion.
In her time with the UFC, Barber is 3-0 and has wins over Hannah Cifers, JJ Aldrich, and Gillian Robertson. As she continues her rise up through the UFC, even Dana White has taken notice of Barber calling her a “gangster” that will be fun to watch for years to come.
Do you agree with Ben Askren’s prediction that Maycee Barber will be champion by 2021?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/9/2020.