Maycee Barber wants Mackenzie Dern after UFC Fight Night 139: 'She can't run away from me'
DENVER – Maycee Barber has a plan in mind for her next fight if she emerges victorious in her octagon debut Saturday.
Barber (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the highly touted undefeated strawweight prospect who meets Hannah Cifers at UFC Fight Night 139, wants a piece of hyped grappling ace Mackenzie Dern (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC). It’s a matchup that Barber has been pursuing for quite some time, and now that she’s in the same organization and weight class as Dern, she’s going to push to make it happen.
“The person I want to fight is Mackenzie Dern, actually,” Barber told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at UFC Fight Night 139 media day. “She has the No. 15 spot (in the UFC’s rankings), and I want that spot. I think that’s a great fight for me, that’s a fight that we’re going to win, and it would get me up in the rankings, and the next thing is to move up on the rankings.”
UFC Fight Night 139 takes place at Pepsi Center. Barber vs. Cifers airs on the FS1-televised portion of the card following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Barber said she has a bit of history with Dern that needs to be settled. It wasn’t that long ago when they were both competing under the LFA banner, and Barber claims she was twice offered a matchup against the undefeated jiu-jitsu sensation. Barber happily agreed but said she didn’t have a willing adversary.
“She ducked me in LFA,” Barber said. “We were fighting in LFA. I was offered to fight her, and she turned it down, and I wanted to fight her. I was supposed to fight her a second time, and I feel like now she can’t run away from me. She’s going to get beat. She has to fight, so that’s the fight for us.”
Dern, 25, has a lot of cache behind her name because of her accomplishments in the grappling world. She’s continued her success in MMA and the UFC, but missed weight by a whopping seven pounds for her most recent bout at UFC 224 in May.
Barber said she doesn’t care about Dern’s weight management issues and would not hesitate to fight her even if she missed weight. She just wants the fight and said UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas would be the perfect timing for it to happen.
At 20, Barber has aspirations of being the youngest champion in UFC history. She hopes for a rapid climb up the ranks, and she said styling out on Dern would be a perfect springboard toward the top of the 115-pound division.
“She’s not ready for me,” Barber said. “I feel like she hasn’t fought anyone necessarily that has given her the matchup. She’s fought a lot of people that will give her the opportunity to fight on the ground, and I will not do that. I can fight standing, I can fight on the ground, and it’s a really good matchup for me.”