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Barber (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who is coming off a TKO victory over J.J. Aldrich at UFC on ESPN+ 6 in March, is currently recovering from surgery for a fractured hand. But she’s already thinking about her next fight, and VanZant (8-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is the name she hopes to draw in the women’s flyweight division.
VanZant is currently recovering from an injury of her own, as she once again had a setback with a consistently problematic arm fracture, but she has vowed to make a return to the octagon in the coming months.
That lines up perfectly for Barber, who issued a call out on social media (via Instagram):
Summer sounds good to me. Or are you going to say no again?
When Barber references “again,” she is commenting on a fight that nearly came together with VanZant at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in January.
When Rachael Ostovich was briefly out of her bout with VanZant due to an alleged domestic violence issue, the UFC was searching for a replacement opponent. Barber said she threw her name in the hat as a replacement and added that the other side wasn’t willing.
“UFC offered it to Paige, and she turned it down,” Barber told MMA Junkie. “(Matchmaker Mick Maynard) was trying to line it up and he was like, ‘Nope, she declined.’”
Ostovich ultimately was able to compete, and VanZant ended up winning by second-round submission. It was her first fight in more than a year due to the arm injury, and just when it seemed like she was getting some momentum on her side again, she suffered another setback.
VanZant appears to be on the comeback trail, though, and Barber is hoping to see her in the octagon – if she’ll accept the challenge.
“Paige turned that fight down before and she knows she doesn’t want any of this,” Barber said. “We’ll cross paths eventually. She’s fighting at 125, and I’m fighting at 125, and I want that fight against her.”
For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
News | MMA Junkie