Gillian Robertson expects to be Maycee Barber’s toughest test yet when they meet at UFC Boston — but Barber, she feels, is overlooking her.
Boston, MA — Flyweight Gillian Robertson (7-3) stands out in a crowd. Her brightly colored hair, usually somewhere between fiery red and pink (closer to the latter this week), will do that. Robertson, however, also stands out in the UFC. Facing Maycee Barber at UFC Boston, Robertson is one of the top prospects at 125lbs right now.
Which is why it’s a little surprising to see her paired with Barber, another hot prospect, so soon. However, as Robertson explained to media outlets including Cageside Press at the UFC Boston media day Wednesday, “this is exactly the fight that I wanted.”
As she explained it, “right before my last fight, my coach was talking to me, he’s like ‘who should we call out?'” Robertson’s response was Maycee Barber. Her coach told her to hold off on that callout, but two days later, “he confirmed the fight for me. This is exactly the fight I wanted. I’ve never been more excited for a fight.”
“We’re both up-and-comers, so it’s a big opportunity for both of us,” Robertson said. “But I feel like she needs to be tested, and I’m really that first test she’s had in the UFC.”
Both Barber and Robertson were recently listed on EPSN’s Top 25 Fighters Under 25. Barber was ranked a little higher, and Robertson feels she’s talked her way into the spotlight, at least to some extent. “I definitely feel like she gets a lot of publicity off the way she talks. She puts herself out there more than I do,” Robertson said Wednesday. “But I feel like my fighting skills speak for me more than hers do. She hasn’t really been tested by tough opponents. This is my fifth fight in the UFC, it’s her third. I really feel like this is the first time she’s going to be tested.”
Aside from the ESPN list, Barber is also somehow listed above Robertson in the UFC’s official rankings. “I don’t really know how it all works. I guess her mouth gets her a lot of places, she talks herself out there,” Robertson responded when asked about that slight. “Which I’m not saying is a bad thing, good for her, she’s getting her name out there, but I feel like I deserve that spot.”
It’s worth noting that Robertson is 4-1 in the UFC, with all four of those wins coming via finish. Despite having one of the best records in the women’s flyweight division inside the UFC, she’s ranked 15th, with Barber a few spots ahead. Robertson also holds a win outside the UFC over Hannah Cifers, who Barber defeated in her UFC debut.
Barber, during fight week, has downplayed Robertson’s ground game. That could be a mistake, the Canadian living and training down in Florida said. “She’s fought two grapplers who are blue belts, and I think those are the girls that she’s comparing me to, that she was able to ground n’ pound with. The last three girls she’s fought were all strikers.”
“Compared to their ground game, it’s just going to be a different world,” Robertson promised. “She’s never felt pressure like mine, she’s never felt a submission attack game like mine. And I’ve got ground n’ pound too.”
In the end, said Robertson, “I 100% think she’s overlooking me. All I’ve heard about is Paige VanZant this camp. I’m like ‘talk sh*t about the person you’ve got a contract with, not some random girl that doesn’t mean anything right now.” VanZant, who has been dealing with a recurring arm injury, is expected to return later this year. But if Barber is too busy worrying about ’12 Gauge, she could play right into the Canadian’s hands.
Watch the full UFC Boston media day press scrum with Gillian Robertson above! UFC Boston (UFC on ESPN 6) takes place Friday, October 18 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA.