Miranda Maverick’s second UFC outing will come against the most active fighter in the promotion’s flyweight division: Gillian Robertson.
The UFC 258 showdown between frequent fliers on the grappling circuit is a promising one for two of the flyweight division’s young stars. Robertson is 25, Maverick herself just 23-years old.
Robertson, for her part, has been vocal about getting some “throat cuddles” in with Maverick for the Valentine’s weekend fight. Maverick (8-2) is taking those comments in stride. “I’ve never been submitted in a fight, I’ve been choked one time in my entire jiu-jitsu career since the age of 17 in actual competition,” she told Cageside Press recently. “I guess twice if you count with the Gi. But she’s going to have trouble doing that, and I look forward to seeing how much trouble she will have with it.”
Maverick is “almost positive” that their fight later this month will go to the ground at some point. And when it does get there, she’s well aware that Robertson will be looking to make a choke happen. “But I don’t think she anticipates how challenging dealing with my top pressure and ground game is going to be for her,” Maverick stated. “I don’t feel like she’s had any opponents that are near as physical as me. There’s of course been a couple, and she has trouble with them every time they are more athletic or bigger than her. And she’s fought at a lot lower weight classes. I think I hold an advantage there that she’s just not used to, that pressure game on the ground.”
If Maverick sounds confident, it’s for good reason. With just one fight in the promotion uner her belt, she’s already being looked at as a future contender. By none other than UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik, for one.
The high praise from Anik “was amazing,” Maverick told us. “Obviously I try to stay humble, try to have humility as I walk into every fight. I treat every fight like it’s the hardest that I’ve faced, but I have that confidence walking in there. I truly believed that in my heart, before he said it, before anybody said it. They way that I train, the way that I was raised, the way that my mindset was walking into these fights, I do believe that. That’s my ultimate goal, is to be at the top of the ladder. And I think if anybody has a chance of that, and has the training ability and the talents to do that, it is me. I appreciate so much Jon Anik’s review of me, and Daniel Cormier jumping on that same train and everybody just being excited and happy for me to be in the UFC.”
That having been said, Maverick has no intention of allowing good reviews to “make me cocky or make me decide ‘yeah I am pretty good, so I don’t need to train as hard or need to keep improving because I’m already there.'” Her mindset it to continue going to the gym every day, trying to improve her skills “to be a better version of me every time I walk out of those doors and into the cage. I’m still doing that, and I want to live up to the hype to the best of my ability.”
Still, Maverick does have her focus set high up in the UFC’s flyweight division. “There’s definitely a couple names, and that list keeps growing for sure. Especially as I watch fights,” she admitted. “For me, I just keep getting more and more hopeful of my rise in the division as I do watch these fights. Even watching this past weekend, the flyweight fight between JoJo [Joanne Calderwood] and Jessica Eye, I’ve got my eye on who I want next. If they’ll give me top 15, top 10 girls, we’ll see how slow and how long it takes me. I’m willing to work hard and work my way up the chain, just like I did in Invicta, just like I did in life. Even if that means taking a couple lower-tier girls, Contender Series or debut fights, I’d almost like that just as well if not better just so I can get this contract out of the way, renegotiate, and keep working my way to the top. But I definitely see some ‘Eyes’ in the top 15 that I’m aiming for and am ready to throw down with.”
The repeated mention of “eye” is no accident. “I said from the beginning, [Katlyn] Chookagian, Antonina [Shevchenko], those are two of the girls that I’d really love to fight,” said Maverick. “But now I can add Jessica Eye to that list, and even JoJo if that opportunity becomes available.”
Miranda Maverick faces Gillian Robertson at UFC 258 on Saturday, February 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.