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Miranda Maverick: Maycee Barber doesn’t fight ‘calm’ or ‘technical’ in the fire

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Miranda Maverick gives opponent Mayce Barber some advice ahead of their clash at UFC Vegas 32.

Miranda Maverick is giving Maycee Barber some tips ahead of their fight at UFC Vegas 32.

Maverick, 24, and Barber, 23, are two of the best prospects in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight division, but they are on completely different trajectories. Maverick (9-2) is perfect (2-0) in the Octagon; meanwhile, Barber (8-2) is coming off consecutive losses. Ahead of UFC Vegas 32 — which takes place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (Sat., July 24, 2021) on ESPN/ESPN+ — Maverick tells Barber’s story is one of too much, too soon.

“They kind of threw her into a lot of people really quickly. I think she should have had a little bit more time to develop,” Maverick explains. “I don’t like people saying, ‘she’s not necessarily the future anymore’ because it kind of discredits her. I think she’s still really young and people look past that. A lot of girls don’t even start at her age. You know, they’re already older than her. The whole flyweight division is older than her. By the time all of them retire, she’ll still be one of the top girls.

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“Maybe she needed more time to develop,” she adds. “And then the way she fights isn’t exactly calm, isn’t exactly technical all the time. So, you know, just that development in between fights and being humble enough that you go in and get the work in that you need to in between fights is the big thing. And sometimes you’re just not the better person. A couple of losses are normal in a fighter’s career and being able to take those losses well are important.”

Maverick says staying calm in the whirlwind of fighting comes down to confidence.

“I think it’s all about your mindset,” she said, pointing to how more fighters are turning to sports psychologists. “I was kind of raised under pressure. I just stay very calm. There’s never going to be any kind of pressure like I grew up with like working on the farm, having your own life and other people’s lives in your hands as you’re doing work...

“And also, like my faith, I credit that a lot. I have nervousness, worries that I have walking into the cage I give to God. And I’m like, I already did everything I could to get here. I’m going to do the best I can, go in there, use all my abilities, my talents, all the techniques I’ve learned, and just go fight my heart out,” Maverick continued. “What’s the point in being angry about it or aggressive or not really knowing? I feel like it really comes down to a confidence thing. If I don’t have the confidence to win or the confidence in my own technique, I guess I would be very flinging and throwing shots and just doing whatever in there instead of staying focused, calm and doing the moves that I know I have.

Maverick, who defeated Liana Jojua and Gillian Robertson in her two UFC fights, is methodically planning her path up the Flyweight ladder.

“I think a lot of us are so eager to get to the top. You know, right now, for instance, it is a stagnant division, and they almost make it that way. It irritates me somewhat with the matchmaking. They keep booting these younger girls out by pitting them against each other instead of older girls out by pitting them against the young ones,” Maverick said. “I’m trying to go slow. I haven’t been like, ‘give me the title right now. ‘ At first, it was two years. Now I want another year before I’m given that title fight.”

UFC Vegas 32, which will stream on ESPN+, is headlined by Cory Sandhagen vs. T.J. Dillashaw in a fight that will likely determine the next contender for the UFC Bantamweight title after Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2.

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