Roxanne Modafferi went 2-1 in 2020, not a bad record given how the coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its head. She started the year with an upset win over Maycee Barber, and book-ended it by defeating Andrea “KGB” Lee, with a loss to Lauren Murphy sandwiched between those wins.
The Barber win, at UFC 246 a year ago now, came with a rather dubious distinction. Modafferi was either in the running for, or won, Upset of the Year for 2020 with the victory.
Which is a bit odd, given she’s a trailblazer in the sport of MMA.
“People were congratulating me for getting Upset for the Year from various websites, and I’m like, ‘yeah, you all thought I was gonna lose, cool,'” Modafferi (25-17) told Cageside Press ahead of UFC Fight Island 8, at a virtual media day promoting the event. “It’s okay. But I also to this day, still get people thanking me like heartily for winning them lots of money. So that’s cool.”
“I’m cool with being the underdog, it’s better for my friends to make money off of me. So no problem,” she added.
Modafferi is once again the underdog, if only by a slight margin, heading into her fight with Viviane Araujo on Wednesday. The Brazilian is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and “The Happy Warrior” recognizes the danger she poses.
“I think Viviane is very dangerous. I think she’s quick and strong and good at defending takedowns,” Modafferi observed. “But I have great game plans,” she continued, “and I’m excited to see how I match up against her. I’m going to go to my strengths, and maybe even surprise you guys.”
The American wasn’t about to let slip what the surprise might be. But later, she did note that one of her bucket list items for 2021 was to earn a win via KO or TKO — which has not happened since her 2018 win against Barb Honchak.
In fact, Modaferri told Cageside Press earlier this month that a knockout (rather than TKO) was something she wanted to achieve at some point in her UFC run. She reiterated that later during media day. So who knows what she might have in store for us come Wednesday.
What she’s focused on, however, is the win. Modafferi is well aware that she’s been trading wins and losses since 2017. “It is a pretty different colored record, but I’d like to go on a winning streak for sure,” she admitted. “I try not to worry about it. It’s very disappointing to lose, it hurts my soul. So I just want to keep winning, keep fighting, and doing awesome things.”
Roxanne Modafferi faces Viviane Araujo on the main card of UFC Fight Island 8 on Wednesday, January 20 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).