Demian Maia might be one win away from a shot at the UFC welterweight title, and the fact that he stopped thinking about it led to this pivotial moment of his career.
Maia, a former title contender at 185 pounds, came close to fighting for the welterweight gold in 2013 after a perfect 3-0 start in the division, but losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald moved him down in the rankings. Two years and four wins later, Maia is once again close to his dream.
“Before it was too much pressure, I was just thinking ‘I wanna win the title, I wanna win the title. If I don’t win the title I’m not gonna be happy when I finish my career’,” Maia told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “But after I lost to Rory, I just relaxed. I love what I do, that’s great. I make money doing what I love, let’s see what happens. Once I relaxed, things started to flow better.
“I was always very, very focused, just thinking about the title. Everything I did in my life was about the title, but that’s too much pressure over me. When I relaxed more, even my performance became better. Now, it’s not like ‘I need to fight for the title, I will win’. I just relaxed, and I know I will fight for the title and I know I have a great chance to win. That’s why I want the chance, but I need to speak so I fight for the title.”
After dominant victories over Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny, Maia will now face Matt Brown at the UFC 198 card in Curitiba, Brazil, and the May 14 bout could determine the next contender. Not focusing on the belt led him to ….View full article
Source:: mma fighting