With the hype surrounding Maycee Barber ahead of UFC Nashville, it’s easy to forget about her opponent JJ Aldrich. But that might be a mistake.
Back at UFC Denver, Maycee Barber made a statement in her debut with a vicious ground and pound stoppage over the more experienced Hannah Cifers. At just 20, Barber has managed to amass a record of 6-0 out of which 5 are finishes. The violence she brings to the cage is something not many female MMA fighters do, resulting in her becoming an overnight fan favorite.
JJ Aldrich, on the other hand, is a polar opposite. She doesn’t bring in the same aggression as Barber nor is she as large as her. Barber has the same number of finishes as Aldrich has decision wins. Aldrich holds a record of 7-2 and hasn’t had any highlight moment. Her introduction to the mainstream fanbase was at the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, where she lost in the quarterfinal to eventual winner Tatiana Suarez.
Hence, Aldrich enters as a considerable underdog in her fight against Barber. However, most seem to be forgetting that Aldrich is a good fighter in her own right. With a record of 7-2, Aldrich is currently on a three-fight win streak. Her only loss in the UFC came when she stepped up as a short-notice replacement. In her last fight, she managed to secure a win over decorated prospect Polyana Viana. She’s also way more experienced than Barber and with time she’s also managed to improve her ground game.
Simply counting her out of the fight is ill-advised. Barber does bring in a lot of hype by her side and unlike most hyped prospects she backs all of it up. She is violent, she is strong, and she can very well win this fight. However, one shouldn’t be surprised if this fight doesn’t go her way. This might not be the toughest fight Aldrich has entered but it for sure is the toughest one Barber has.
UFC Nashville will be live on ESPN+ in the USA, TSN5 in Canada on March 23; and SONY SIX in India on March 24.