Strawweight prospect Maycee Barber’s 2017 was a year of firsts. After having her first amateur MMA fight in January, Barber quickly turned pro and picked up wins over Itzel Esquivel and Mallory Martin for the LFA to close out her year.
“I feel like the last year was a good year,” Barber told MMAWeekly.com. “I made my amateur debut and then I made my pro debut, and then I fought in my second professional fight. So it was a really successful year.
“Growth-wise, I’m always growing. I actually feel like I’ve grown the most in the last couple months. Since the September fight I feel like I’ve grown a ton. But in the whole year my growth has been pretty big.”
With wins over previously touted Esquivel and Martin, Barber quickly found herself as one of the featured female fighters on the LFA roster. It’s a position she’s more than happy to have and can handle, even at the young age of 19.
“I’m happy they’re pushing me the way they’re pushing me,” said Barber. “I prefer that over being a fighter that’s not as known or as heard of. I want to be a household name eventually.
“My ultimate is goal is to be able to do that. The more people that know you, the bigger name you are, the more people you can reach and impact their lives.”
Barber (2-0) will have her first fight of the year when she takes on late replacement Kaila Thompson (1-1) in a main card catchweight bout at LFA 33 on Friday in Dallas, Texas.
“We watched film, just like we watch all the fights I’m offered, but I also was not dead-set because I know I’ve had a lot of opponents back out and not follow through with the fight, so we always focus on myself,” Barber said. “We focus on how much we can improve me and my game.
“Now we have an opponent switch, and I don’t feel at all like that’s messed anything up. I actually feel good about it because we’ve only focused on my game.”
Appearing to be on a fast track towards stardom, Barber wants to more than just make her way to the top level of MMA, she wants to rewrite history when she gets there.
“I would like to be in the UFC before I turn 20 on May 18,” said Barber. “That’s always been the goal. But the even bigger goal is to be the youngest UFC champion.
“23 years and 8 months was the youngest, and I think we can beat that. I’m 19 going on 20, and then I have three more years, and I have so much more to grow. For this year, I’d like to fight three or four more times. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m already making plans for the next one.”