Demian Maia Believes He's the Best Welterweight in the World

Demian Maia Believes He's the Best Welterweight in the World
Photo: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Demian Maia is ready for his title shot.

After a tumultuous weekend in New York City, Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson most likely are headed towards an immediate rematch after fighting to a draw in a battle for the UFC welterweight crown at UFC 205. For Maia, that means he remains on the bench, still hoping for his own shot at the belt after eight-straight wins.

Despite ensuring that he's keeping his optimism on the path to his second UFC title shot, the Brazilian admitted that he already has a plan B in place.

During a Q&A session with fans in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Maia said he's still juggling behind the scenes to make sure he is next to fight for the belt. However, the developments at the top of the division remain unclear, and while it should be decided in the coming weeks who will fight for the title next, Maia is pondering other options. Among them is a familiar face from the past: Anderson Silva.

"I was probably next and I knew this was going to happen, but then the fight ended up a draw", Maia told fans at the Ibirapuera arena. "It was bad luck. They have to make it clear what they want. 'Cowboy' [Cerrone] said he wanted to fight me, I'm ready for anyone. If I can do a rematch with Anderson, then that as well. We have the possibility of deciding this over the next 10 days."

If he in fact does end up fighting for the 170-pound strap next, Maia said he's confident he could beat both champion Woodley and top-tier contender Thompson once the Octagon doors close.

"Nothing has been decided yet," Maia said. "They talk about the rematch, but no one has decided. Dana said I can choose to wait or fight before [a title shot]. They already offered me some things, but I want to see what is going to happen before. I think I deserve to be next in line. My strategy is no secret. Get the fight down to the mat and end it. I know I can do this. 

"Either against Woodley or against 'Wonderboy'. That's why I'm so eager to fight. I know I could be the champion today, but I don't know about a few months from now. Our career is very short-lived. Now, I can be a champion."

In addition to himself, two other Brazilian athletes are currently waiting for their shots at other UFC belts. While Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is hoping to get a chance to fight for the promotion's middleweight belt, José Aldo, the current UFC interim featherweight champion, wants to get his rematch against Irish superstar Conor McGregor.

Both fighters, however, could end up having to wait longer for their chances or fight before their desired title shots. That raised their countryman's eyebrows.

"Until Saturday I didn't [believe that the UFC is hesitant to give Brazilian fighters big fights], but since then I do a little bit. Brazil is the second biggest market in the world, only behind the USA. "Jacaré", Aldo and I have to compete for the belts, because we bring recognition to the show."

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