April 19, 2024

‘Wasn’t impressed’… 25-year-old makes case for being UFC title fight back-up over Manon Fiorot


Despite winning 50-45 on all three judges’ scorecards, not everyone was impressed by Manon Fiorot’s performance as she hunts a UFC flyweight title shot.

There have been several notable victories in the UFC flyweight division in recent weeks, with many fans and pundits alike expecting Manon Fiorot to be next in line for a title shot after her UFC Atlantic City win – yet one fighter who is staking her own claim is nonother than ‘The Future’ herself, Maycee Barber.

UFC 299: Cerminara v Barber
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC flyweight division sees major shakeup just four months into 2024

Flyweight contender Maycee Barber may have earned a unanimous decision victory over Katlyn Cerminara at UFC 299 back in March, but the 25-year-old already faces being eclipsed by fellow prospects after a streak of Fight Night main events in the women’s 125lb division.

On March 23, Rose Namajunas earned a decision win over Amanda Ribas, the former champion’s first victory in her new weight class, with Manon Fiorot following up the very next week in Atlantic City with a shut-out decision win over Erin Blanchfield.

Maycee Barber breaks down UFC flyweight title picture

With champion Alexa Grasso busy with Valentina Shevchenko, the top of the flyweight division has several contenders hoping to be named as either next in line for a title shot, or as the backup to what many expect to be a September trilogy fight between the TUF 32 coaches.

Whilst many within the MMA community predict that opportunity will be granted to Manon Fiorot, Barber has her eyes set on either a number one contender’s fight against the French prospect, or as the backup for the upcoming title fight itself.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour, Barber said that she was disappointed by the “lackluster” performance of Fiorot, who was unable to finish Blanchfield inside the distance:

“The fight went exactly how I thought it was going to be…I don’t feel like Manon’s a finisher though so to me it was kind of a lackluster fight and didn’t really put a statement out there like ‘I’m ready to take the belt’…I wasn’t really impressed by their performances.”

“I’m down to fight for the number one contender’s spot [against Fiorot] but at the same time I want my rematch [against Alexa Grasso], I don’t feel like I have anything else to prove,” said Barber.

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“I’m on a six-fight win streak, I have history with Alexa, and I could also be the backup fighter so it’s a unique situation and weird timing situation…Who knows if someone’s going to get hurt, anything can happen [before then].”

In the aftermath of her own unanimous decision victory over Amanda Ribas, former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas also called for a number-one contender’s fight against Barber.

In an interview with Sportskeeda MMA, Barber responded to the call out by noting that while “I think that that’s a great matchup for me,” there is a downside in “fighting backward” down the rankings.

“For the first time, I can actually say that me fighting Rose Namajunas would be fighting backwards in the division, even though a win over her is like, a win over a former champion, a win over someone who has been in such a great position for so long.”

Maycee Barber is currently the #4 ranked flyweight in the world, Namajunas is ranked #6, with Fiorot in the #2 spot below former champion Valentina Shevchenko.

‘The Future’ is recovering from 9 days in hospital following UFC 299

Whilst the post-fight period after a victory should be spent in relaxation and celebration, Barber faced one of the toughest challenges of her career after UFC 299 as she spent nine days in hospital battling infections.

“The past few weeks were quite the ride and included lots of highs and lots of lows,” said Barber in an Instagram post, including images from her unexpected stay in hospital.

“I spent 9 days in the hospital being tested and treated for an infection that they thought were a mix of different things from Strep A to Staph…Battling a 105-degree fever for days, having extremely low blood pressure, HR, and oxygen, was incredibly hard.”

Barber also revealed that she subsequently developed Pneumonia, which she described as “honestly very scary at times,” and that “There were a few moments where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be okay.”

Thankfully, she is now on the road to recovery.

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