Maycee Barber is excited to take on J.J. Aldrich at UFC Nashville, and just as importantly, excited to get her body back on track while moving to flyweight.
Las Vegas, NV — Want to know the toll being a professional fighter takes on the body? Look no further than Maycee Barber. Outwardly a healthy, robust figure, Barber’s body hit a road block after her last bout in the fall. Now, heading into UFC Nashville, she’s moving to flyweight, hoping that her body will once again respond the way it should.
Barber will be taking on J.J Aldrich in Nashville, a fight she told reporters including Cageside Press backstage at UFC 235 is “probably the toughest match-up that I’ve had.”
“I’m really excited about it. Especially since we’re both moving up in weight class,” said Barber. The pair have even trained together before, back when Barber was in her teens, prior even to her amateur bouts. She sees Aldrich as having excellent fundamentals. But more importantly, her new home in terms of weight has her feeling better physically. “I feel good, I’m being fueled a lot better than I was in my past camps. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to perform off of that.”
So how did the 6-0 Barber find herself forced to move up in weight at such a young age? Just twenty, Barber is seen by many as a bright future star in the sport. Strawweight has been her home. Until now. “All my past fights at 115, every time the cut got harder,” she said on Saturday in Las Vegas. Even though “I started out on a low calorie diet.”
At UFC Denver, she defeated Hannah Cifers. “I went out to the PI the day after my fight in November. They came back and, you know all the testing they do out here, that’s a incredible too. That’s a huge benefit to all of us fighters. But yeah, they did some tests, and it came back I had a decreased metabolism of like fifty or sixty percent. It was really bad.” Adding to the issue, “I had lost a lot of female hormones, things just weren’t working right.”
The choice was made to move to flyweight at that point. “It was a joint decision that we made. I want to perform better, and I also know that I need to be fueling my training.”
“25 is not necessarily where I saw myself, in the division,” she admitted, “but I’m there, and I’ll fight there. I just wanted to fight, so if we’re going to keep me getting healthier, and I want to fight, then 25 is going to be it until probably a year from now, when I can go back to 115.”
It might shock some that she’d consider going back at all. As to why the year time frame is required, Barber said that “I think it’s going to take that long to revert my body back into a healthy state.”
She has found herself at this point because, at least in part, “I was put on a 500 calorie diet for a good ten weeks, a long time. And I was training four times a day. It was super bad, and I never got reversed out of that diet.”
“So every time, I would get right back into a fight,” she continued, “and I would want to fight again. So we had another cut, and we had another cut, and I just never had the ability to go back.” Her metabolism slowed as a result, burning just 900 calories a day. A normal at rest number would be 1500 calories, she pointed out. And for a high level athlete, that is especially abnormal.
“When I went to the PI, my body was only burning 900. Which, you can’t eat above 900 if you’re body’s not burning above 900, because you’re going to put on weight.” Obviously a problem for a fighter in the UFC’s smallest weight class. “That’s a long, tricky process, and it took me years to get in that position, and it’s going to take me a year or so to get out of that.”