Demian Maia doesn’t want to risk losing a chance at the UFC Welterweight Championship. He believes he has earned a title shot, and it’s hard to argue with any credibility with his stance. He has won six in a row, Rory MacDonald has left UFC to sign with Bellator, last night he decisively he beat Carlos Condit (ranked ahead of him in our latest MMATorch Rankings), and the only other contender above him – Stephen Thompson – is apparently getting the next title shot against champ Tyron Woodley, according to Dana White.
“I will wait,” he said at the press conference last night after his win. “I will stay active doing my training and teaching. The guy I fought today is a guy that many people, including me, thought he won [the last title match] and was supposed to be the champion. What else should I do? I’ve won six fights in a row and that’s it, you know?”
Maia is at peace with Stephen Thompson getting the shot first. “I respect Thompson,” he said. “I am much older than him, so if they give it to me first, that would be great. If not, I hope they give it to him very fast and then I wait for who wins the fight.”
UFC isn’t in the business of giving title shots to lower-ranked contenders because they’re older, but if Thompson suffered an injury, Maia would be on the short-list of calls UFC would make to replace him.
Maia got very emotional last night after his victory, openly weeping when his arm was raised. He addressed that flood of emotions. “There was mixed feelings,” he said. “To achieve six wins in a row, to be the Brazilian with the most wins and to win that way against a guy I respect very much, to pull the win against him, everything came to mind: my family, the title shot, everything. I’m grateful for came together and I got a little emotional.”
Maia had said before the fight last night that win or lose he has had a good MMA career and is proud of his accomplishments. Winning the championship in his late 30s in a stacked division would likely trigger more water-works. He’ll have to wait, likely until
Cervantes Analysis: The welterweight division seems to be in a state of flux with the impending return of GSP. Tyron Woodley has said he’d like to wait for GSP as it would mean a massive payday for him, but that would mean holding up the division for some time. We have two very worthy contenders in Thompson and Maia who have made compelling arguments for a shot at the title and this may mean a face off for the two of them in the future to ultimately decide the number one contender.