“I always want to take top 10 or top 5 guys. Always. But in my last fights, they kept giving me these rising prospects that many people thought could beat me. But I beat them all, one after the other. First it was [Ryan] LaFlare, then [Neil] Magny and then Gunnar Nelson. In those fights, I had the impression they were trying to use me as a stepping stone. I beat them all convincingly. Now I have the chance to fight Matt Brown, a really tough guy. But it doesn’t matter who I fight. With my arsenal, I believe I can beat everybody in the division. That’s why I want a title shot if I beat Brown.”
Penick’s Analysis: As I wrote this morning, Maia’s been highly underappreciated, and he’s proving that he’s still a legitimate contender with each passing fight. A dominant win over Brown only continues that run for him, and if he takes that next step forward he should at worst be set up in a No. 1 contender fight next. He’ll have earned it at that point.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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