Roxanne Modafferi, #5 ranked UFC women's bantamweight, spoke recently with BE about her win over Maycee Barber at UFC 246, a fight that saw The Future's blood flying, including into The Happy Warrior's mouth.
“Very warm and juicy. I spit it out,” said Modafferi, as transcribed by Shakiel Mahjouri. “I’ve gotten blood on my arms before in a fight, but I’ve never before in any fight had it drip onto my face and into my mouth before. That was my first experience for a lot of things in that fight. I was distracted for about five seconds spitting it out to the side."
Barber tore her ACL early in the fight, and Modafferi declined to attack the knee thereafter.
“Another first experience was having somebody cry out in pain while we’re fighting," said Roxy. "Knowing that she was injured as opposed to just bruised or hit. Knowing that there was some sort of serious ligament damage. It never occurred to me to go easy on her, but it was kind of bizarre.
"Another one was when they paused the fight to check on her. I had feelings like, ‘they’re going to stop it? Great. I want the win. Oh no, I don’t want them to stop it, but I want to win.’ I had this 10-second internal struggle just with what I wanted to happen. I’ve never had that before in the middle of the fight.”
Barber had widely shared her desire to beat Jon Jones' record as the youngest fighter to ever win a UFC belt. Jones was 23 years and eight months old; Barber is now 21 years and nine months old.
“Addressing the goal to be the youngest champion, that’s great," said Modafferi. "I have goals too. I wanted to be the first woman in the UFC but that didn’t happen. It’s nice to have goals, but I don’t really care about other people’s goals, to be frank.”
Barber's father Bucky discredited the win.
"Was it a loss? She was not beaten by a better skill set," he wrote on Instagram. "She was beaten by one unfortunate step and turn of events."
However, UFC women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko told The Score that Modafferi would have won anyway.
“It was really nice to have Valentina give me some credit,” said Modafferi. “I try not to care what other people think. I think I would have won also even if she hadn’t hurt her knee. I think the fans also believe I was doing fine and would have won anyway. So I was happy about that and Valentina put an extra stamp on the conversation.”
Modafferi, 37, has been fighting since 2003, and feels the perception that's she's a journeyman fighter is changing.
“I do feel a very warm reaction,” said Modafferi. “People are giving me a lot of credit, noticing I have improved, noticing my physique is getting more athletic. I’ve always struggled with that.”