Oh dear, Demian Maia will not be happy to hear this…
After UFC 211, one thing is abundantly clear-Demian Maia needs to fight for the title. Before this weekend’s albeit narrow win over Jorge Masvidal, Maia was the only clear contender at 170 pounds.
Extending his win streak to seven with three finishes, Maia has literally booted the door down to a crack at title glory. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board the Maia train. You guessed it, the champ thinks that other options are more interesting.
Woodley Sees Other Options
Speaking with ESPN this week, current 170-pound champion Tyron Woodley says that Nick Diaz is more appealing than Maia right now:
“I think those fights are way more real than you guys realize,” Woodley said. “I was teasing everyone for several weeks, but that wasn’t for giggles. Those are realistic options that could make Demian Maia take a backseat for a little bit.”
“The interest is there,” said Woodley, on what he’s heard from Diaz’s associates. “I don’t know if it was in the past. I don’t think he had interest to fight anyone. We all know he’s not scared, but he didn’t think he was being compensated for what he thought he was worth.
“It’s a different game now. People are making real money. I think if it’s a good card that makes sense, that fight will happen.”
Nick Over Maia?
“He is one of the last specialists in the UFC,” Woodley said. “He and Stephen [Wonderboy] Thompson are two of the last specialists in the sport and they just so happen to be in my weight class, right near the top. Training for Wonderboy’s karate, two times in a row — they were the most annoying camps of my life. He’s so good at what he does.
“I was a little frustrated with people at the FOX studios this weekend. They were laughing and jumping on my back like Maia does in fights — when I fight these specialists, I can’t be free in camp. I can’t be free in a fight. I can’t fight the way I normally would against a traditional, freestyle fighter. Now, I might have to go back to a similar training camp.”
Although this may seem controversial, remember that Woodley played the same mind games before both Stephen Thompson fights.
There’s absolutely no doubt about what should happen next. Maia obviously deserves the next title shot. Having beaten Masvidal, Magny, Condit, Nelson, LaFlare, Brown and more, the only fighters in the top 10 he hasn’t beaten are Lawler and Cerrone.
With those two pegged to square off next, Maia might well have to sit and wait if Woodley faces Diaz. That being said, this could all be another charade from Woodley, who has a track record of messing with opponents in this respect.