Roxanne Modafferi is coming off one of the biggest wins of her career, and is on the brink of a UFC flyweight title shot. Speaking exclusively with MiddleEasy, she explains how that massive win felt, her next fight, Jon Jones’ PED issues, and more.
At UFC 246, Roxanne took on young, up and coming flyweight Maycee Barber. The promotion had been pushing Maycee as a hot prospect and the future of the division. As such, Modafferi was a serious underdog in the sports books, which was surprising given how experienced the former title challenger is.
Despite what’s the oddsmakers said, Roxanne Modafferi completely dominated her opponent, en route to a unanimous decision victory. While the people who were not familiar with Modafferi’s were surprised, others realized that the stylistic matchup favored “The Happy Warrior.” Moreover, as she told MiddleEasy, Roxy did not feel like she was an underdog, so the win did not come as a surprise to her.
“I didn’t feel like an underdog, because i know my abilities and I’m confident in myself. I know (Maycee) is very dangerous, she had TkO’d her last opponents, but it just felt like a relief to win. It’s always a relief in the UFC, (it’s like) ‘I’ve made it, I’ve got to keep winning my fights. So it was awesome.”
One of the big issues coming out of this fight was that Barber had injured her knee pretty severely during the fight. Despite that, Roxanne chose to engage in grappling exchanges, rather than forcing a finish. The way she explained it, although she knew Maycee was hurt, she was aware of the advantage she had on the ground.
“I could tell it was bothering her, but i knew she was still dangerous, so i just fought on,” Roxanne said. “I believe that anyone can throw a crazy punch and knock someone out by accident, but I’m pretty sure you can’t get armbared by accident. So for me, i knew my grappling was better so it was safer for me to be on the ground anyway.
I would never target someone’s injury on purpose, but I was conscious of it. I wanted to take advantage of her lack of mobility in the striking exchanges, but if i can take her down there, i knew i could control her.”
As for her next fight, the number five ranked Roxanne Modafferi will be taking on Lauren Murphy in July. The word on the street is that the UFC will be looking to host events on Fight Island come July, so there is a possibility these two ladies will be apart of one of those events. When asked how excited Roxy was about that possibility, she said it all depends on the location of this mysterious island.
“(My excitement) depends entirely on where this fight island is,” Modafferi laughed. “There’s ALREADY t-Shirts that say fight island but I’ve heard a rumour that it’s in Abu Dhabi, no it’s in England, no it’s somewhere! I feel like Dana White should start putting red herrings out all over the place, so there’s so many rumors nobody knows.
“I don’t really want to go to Abu Dhabi, but they’re paying me to fight somebody, so I’ll go wherever they say.”
Modafferi continues to explain that training and fighting during this time is a little tricky, given the circumstances in the world. However she was eventually able to get a small group of her trainers together to help her prepare, and she is feeling good. One of those teammates is fellow flyweight contender Joanne Calderwood, who is expected to face Valentina Shevchenko for the title. If Roxanne is successful against Lauren Murphy, then the chances are that she will be next in line for the winner of that fight. That being said, the two of them are not thinking about fighting each other just yet, with other big opponents in front of them.
“Man, everyone is asking me about (fighting Joanne Calderwood),” Roxy said. “I have to fight Lauren, i have to beat her first. Joanne Will have to fight Valentina first, so I’m really trying not to think about that, because so many things have to happen for that to happen. I’m not looking forward to that, if that indeed were the case, so i’m just trying to focus on Lauren Murphy.”
From there, the conversation switched to a bit of a more serious topic. Prior to her win over Barber, Roxanne Modafferi was coming off a loss to Jennifer Maia. Following the fight, she expressed feelings of something similar to PTSD, after failing so hard to get the takedown on Maia. This was something she said she carried with her for a while, and it took her a while to get past.
“It was really hard,” she said. “Learning why it happened to me and improving can help me tell myself ‘okay that’s not going to happen again, don’t worry.’ so i went back, and i looked at the fight, and my coaches are like ‘okay, she’s shorter than you, so you need to have a different gameplan as opposed to a taller opponent.’
“So i practiced that and i got better, and then i can tell myself ‘okay, if I’m every going to fight someone like her again, I’m not going to do that. its okay, you’re not going to repeat that nightmare.'”
Recently Conor McGregor made some headlines with his list of the greatest fighters in MMA history. Roxanne Modafferi had a lot of the same people on her own personal list. However, she had a very unique pick for her top entry of pound-for-pound GOATs.
“The first person that comes to mind is Megumi Fujii, the Japanese female fighter. She always submits everybody, come on it’s ridiculous.”
For the rest of her list, it was pretty standard stuff; Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and Jon Jones. Yet Roxanne admits that it is tough to include Jones on her GOAT list. She explained that in order to do that, you have to be able to separate his skills in the cage from his transgressions outside.
“His skills as a fighter are different than who he is as a person. So if you want to ask am I a fan of his, no. But that’s because I’m not a fan of what he’s doing in his personal life. Is he a great fighter? Yes. so i just try to stay away from the whole topic.”
At the end of the day, Roxanne Modafferi lives up to her nickname of “The Happy Warrior.” She is a positive influence in the sport, and does her best to be an excellent role model. Be sure to watch the full interview, and catch Roxy’s next fight on July 22nd.