Demian Maia may be the clear front-runner for a shot at the welterweight crown, but he’s still taking one more fight before that happens.
Maia is currently on a six-fight win streak and is the No. 3-ranked welterweight in the world. After his dominant win over former interim 170-pound champ Carlos Condit it was expected that the Brazilian would challenge for the title next – but that’s not the case.
Instead, Maia will take on No. 5-ranked Jorge Masvidal at the stacked UFC 211 pay-per-view (PPV) next weekend (Sat. May 13, 2017) from Dallas, Texas, a decision UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley referred to as ‘stupid’.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Maia got the opportunity to respond to the welterweight champion’s comments, and blame’s a ‘lack of coherence’ for his outburst (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“He doesn’t know why I made this decision, he doesn’t know the kind of situation that went down,” Maia said. “So, it was an unfortunate comment. And, also, I see that pattern in him – he never knows if he wants to be a nice guy, or an arrogant guy, or a guy who promotes himself, or a good guy. He can’t go in one direction.
“I think this lack of coherence only hurts him. I think that’s why he’s a champion who doesn’t have a lot of charisma.”
With another win Maia expects to get the next shot at the welterweight throne, however, he’s not losing focus of the task at hand that approaches him next weekend:
“I think it is (the No. 1 contender fight), at least for me,” Maia said. “I think if I win, with seven wins in a row, (I deserve a shot). But I don’t know, because everything has been so crazy – we have no way of knowing.
“I want to see what happens, because I have this fight in front of me. I am no longer falling into this trap of losing focus on the fight. My title fight is next Saturday – that’s the most important thing. The rest is just consequence.”
Masvidal will certainly present the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist with some problems inside the Octagon, but after having 30 professional MMA fights under his belt, he believes there’s nothing he hasn’t seen before:
“I’ve fought many athletes who were strikers, and many fighters who defend takedowns well,” Maia said. “He has his specific features, of course, but it’s nothing I haven’t faced in my 30-fight career.”
We’re going to find out this weekend if Maia will earn the shot at the title that many believe he’s deserved for quite some time now, but with welterweight champ Woodley calling out seemingly every big name he can think of and not having a fight actually booked, the BJJ wizard’s dream could finally come to fruition if he can get past a surging “Gamebred”.
Nothing guaranteed in today’s topsy-turvy, unpredictable UFC landscape, however, and no one can be sure Maia will get the title fight he deserves even if he submits Masvidal in the first round. It’s just how the promotion seems to work these days, but at some point, the most deserving contender has a the big fight they should clearly receive.
You’d think, at least.