Carlos Condit thinks UFC on Fox 21 opponent Demian Maia a “phenomenal fighter” who has “been playing it safe”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

“The fight with [Demian] Maia, it’s a tough fight. He’s a tough match-up for anybody, but that being said, it gets me back into title contention. I beat Demian Maia, I’m the no. 1 contender, I feel. And I’m back in position to get the belt around my waist again. I like the idea of fighting him because he is one of the best in the world. He’s got a tricky style. It’s, without a doubt, a challenge. It’s going to be a tough puzzle to solve, but I like challenging myself. That’s why I do this. One of the reasons to pit my skills and my abilities against other world-class fighters. Demian Maia is, without a doubt, a world-class fighter… He’s underrated. Because he’s a phenomenal fighter, he should possibly, potentially be a no. 1 contender, but the thing is, his style’s not fan friendly. He doesn’t fight… he plays it safe and he’s been playing it safe. That’s why he’s not where he should be with regard to rankings or respect among welterweights.”

-Carlos Condit talks to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about his UFC on Fox 21 headliner with Demian Maia.

Penick’s Analysis: Maia’s got it in him to be a thrilling and highly entertaining fighter, and though he’s had fights that could be criticized from a fan enjoyment standpoint I don’t know that it’s the majority of his bouts. He’s one of the most supremely talented fighters to have competed in this sport, at least in the grappling department, but he’s absolutely given himself a longer path at times. Condit’s almost exclusively competed in thrilling and entertaining fights, so his style will either force Maia into something on the more exciting end, or Maia’s dominance will dictate how the fight plays out.

[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]

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