With rumors flying about the state of the UFC welterweight division, Demian Maia took to Facebook on Thursday to clear the air about his recent decisions.
Maia, 39, is currently riding a division-best seven-fight win streak and was expected to be the next title contender before UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson fought to a majority draw at UFC 205. The result forced Maia back into the division’s queue, with UFC president Dana White stating after UFC 205 that Maia would be given the choice of waiting for the next title shot or fighting again in the interim.
Maia elected to wait on the sidelines and has done exactly that, turning down an offer in late-2016 to fight former champion Robbie Lawler. But with the March 9 rematch between Woodley and Thompson at UFC 209 a little over a month away, Maia again found his name in the news, as Jorge Masvidal told MMA Junkie this week that Maia declined an offer to fight him.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday, Maia responded to Masvidal’s comments and explained his frustration with the situation at hand.
“When Dana White said at UFC NY post fight press conference, after Wonderboy and Woodley fought to a draw for the WW title, that I would get the next shot if I want to wait or I could fight somebody else, my understanding was that I had earned my title shot and that it was going to happen sooner or later, and it was my choice if I wanted to remain active or not,” Maia wrote. “I have the biggest respect for Dana, I trust him, and I had seen how Woodley could wait for longer than a year and get his title shot, that ultimately crowned him as a champion, so why would I believe it would be any different with me?
“I have fought many of the top fighters at MW and WW, including maybe the best ever at his prime, and I never had any problem fighting anyone at the right time. I would fight anyone at WW for a belt right now, interim or linear, and when we got the Masvidal fight offered we explained our reasons for being frustrated and wanting to wait for a title shot, how the proposed card could impact us financially, but said we would discuss it and come up with a decision. We [hadn’t] even said ‘no’ yet, when news starting to pop up that we had declined the fight. Fair enough I guess, as it’s not what we had in mind anyways.
“During the course of my WW journey, I have seen other fighters get title shots with win streaks that went from just one win, to three wins, and even people get a title shot coming of a loss,” Maia continued. “The only exceptions were (Johny) Hendricks on his first title shot, and Wonderboy on his title shot, and I always went on record agreeing and understanding that they were the rightful contenders.
“Even though I was naturally frustrated, I understood that a draw between Wonderboy and Woodley warranted a rematch, even though I had a different take on their fight. But with their next fight just four weeks away, why can’t I have my shot after they fight? If others got their opportunities with less wins, or sometimes close fights? If the next WW fight was months away, I could understand any urgency, or a scenario where people feel other guys had to have their chance to claim a spot as the next contender right away. But the WW title fight is pretty much one month away, so it seems only natural to wait, and finally have my chance at WW, as this is what I really care about.”
Maia’s recent run through the welterweight division has been highlighted by dominant victories over Neil Magny, Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson, and, most impressive of all, a two-minute romp over longtime contender Carlos Condit.
Maia pointed to his résumé as reason for his decision to wait, explaining that over the course of the past four years he has accepted numerous fights that benefitted him little in the UFC rankings, and that after striving for so long to reach the point where the title shot should be his, it was finally time to do what is best for himself and hope that the UFC follows through on its promise after UFC 209.
“I have been doing this for a long time, and my dream continues to be the same,” Maia wrote. “There’s nothing I want more right now than fighting for the belt, and with the rematch just weeks away, I hope that I hadn’t understand wrong and that I can have my chance. All I want is an opportunity that others had, sometimes with much less done to get their chances.
“This is a sport in the end, and even though it’s entertainment, there is no reason why it can’t be treated as a sport and still entertain lots of people. Whatever happens next, I trust Dana and the UFC, a place I have been calling home for the last 10 years, and I’ll continue on my path to become the best I can be.”
Maia’s full statement can be read below.
I have been reading a lot of things online lately, a lot of speculation, and I have been approached a lot by the press…
Posted by Demian Maia on Thursday, February 2, 2017
Source:: mma fighting