Although Demian Maia has been competing in the UFC welterweight division for just over a year, the former middleweight contender believes he’ll be knocking on the title shot door, provided he defeats Jake Shields Wednesday night. The two will scrap in the headliner for UFC Fight Night 29 of course, which will go down in Barueri, Brazil.
While Maia may not have the same buzz right now as other rising contenders like Matt Brown or Robbie Lawler, the jiu-jitsu star is ranked above both and sits at #4. So, this is part of the reason why Maia thinks a shot at the belt could be next, if he takes out Shields. While speaking to the press in Barueri, Maia noted (comments via MMA Fighting,com):
“I hope I can get the chance after I win,” Maia said. “It will be four wins in a row. I’ve already fought for the title in the middleweight (division), so I’ll be better ranked. The other fighters ranked higher than me already fought for the (welterweight) title.”
“Shields is not well ranked not but he already defeated Carlos Condit, a former UFC interim champion, and he’s a former Strikeforce champion,” he said. “These rankings don’t mean much, but I believe I’ll be able (to earn a title shot with a win). I don’t see another fighter to fight.”
That’s an interesting way of looking at it. One would think, however, that if Lawler or Brown score big wins in their next bouts, they could be next (they’re set to fight Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit respectively). Since not everyone’s on board with Maia’s grinding approach, he could need another impressive victory to lock up a shot.
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