With all of the top UFC Welterweights tied up in high-level bouts at the moment (except perhaps Carlos Condit), contender Demian Maia apparently has only one man in his sights. That man is Nick Diaz, who was revealed as Maia’s next target by Ariel Helwani on last night’s episode of “UFC Tonight.” Helwani had the following to say on the potential blockbuster bout between two BJJ experts:
“Demian Maia’s manager Eduardo Alonso says that Demian’s anxious to get back. Demian wants to return on the August 3rd card in Rio, and he’d be honored to fight Nick Diaz. They have a lot of respect for Diaz. This fight makes a lot of sense. If you look at the welterweight rankings, everyone else is booked or just fought. They’re ranked fifth and sixth and would make a lot of sense.”
Indeed, this fight could make a ton of sense for both fighters involved, as Diaz needs a top opponent to prove his worth and stay relevant, while Maia could use the bout as a huge stepping-stone. A ground war between Diaz and Maia could be a site to behold, with the slight edge going to BJJ World Champion Maia. On the feet, however, it’s obvious that Diaz would hold the decided advantage.
As both are ranked close to one another, it would seem that there’s really no other logical step for the UFC to take. But Nick Diaz is still in his post-fight ‘retirement’ stage, and there’s been no official word stating if he will come back or not. It’s hard to believe that he’ll stay retired for good, and a win over Maia would be huge for Diaz, who hasn’t tasted victory since October of 2011.
What do you think as fans? Is this the bout that will catapult Demian Maia into the top rungs of the UFC 170 lb. division? Or is it a chance for Nick Diaz to prove that he’s still near the top of the food chain?