Demian Maia might be close to calling it a career.
With a new, freshly signed, four-fight UFC contract, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt could hang his gloves once his current deal with the promotion is up. Although the 40-year-old claims to still be uncertain about retirement, Maia told Combate he knows that his time in MMA is coming to an end.
“We did renegotiate a new contract,” Maia said. “I had one pending fight on my last contract, but we renegotiated and now I have four more left. My career is coming to an end, I’m already looking at retirement. I want to perform in the best possible, in these four fights. I’m not sure if I’ll stop after that, but there’s a big chance. I want to give my best and then I’ll see what happens next.”
For his first challenge under the new deal, Maia will take on Kamaru Usman on Saturday night, in a fight which he took on short notice. However, to brush off some of the pressure, Demian explained how he feels like the crowd will be on his side once the Octagon door closes.
“I believe the crowd will be with me, which is great,” Maia said. “The Brazilian jiu-jitsu scene is growing a lot over there, and that helps me, it puts the fans on my side, since I carry the flag. Once I’m in there, though, it’s all about doing my job and performing professionally. We’ve got some strategies and gameplans, but you’ll never know a fight will turn out. My team is really good at developing a gameplan and it works for most of the time. You just have to be prepared to make it work.”
Maia vs. Usman will serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night 129 on May 19, in Santiago, Chile. A female strawweight bout between Alexa Grasso and Tatiana Suarez will be night’s co-main event.