Ask any UFC fighter and they’ll tell you that Demian Maia is one of the nicest guys in MMA. He’s also arguably the greatest BJJ athlete in the company’s history. However, at the age of 42, he’s definitely no longer in his prime. Indeed, after his latest loss to Gilbert Burns, he’s said he’s probably only got one fight left in him.
Another highly-regarded BJJ expert, Burns is an elite black belt. The three-time world champion is now riding a five-fight win streak and looks to push himself into title contention. With his incredible physique and genuine knockout power, he’s one to watch. Now 33 years old, he’s turned a corner and looks like he’s finally reaching his level.
It was the knockout power that did it in the end. Check out the finish below as Burns announced himself as a top-ten welterweight. Who should he fight next?
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 14, 2020
Maia came into this fight on a three-fight win streak, with his most recent victory coming over Ben Askren. This was an entertaining fight for as long as it lasted. They traded positions on the ground as they went full BJJ. But then the fight went back to the feet and Burns was merciless.
He caught Maia with a powerful left hand, dropping him to the floor. Then Burns looked at the referee to stop the fight. But he didn’t so he had to follow up with a couple more shots. Burns wasn’t happy that he had to do this which is definitely to his credit.
Gilbert Burns (+425 KO) with a first round KO vs Maia
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) March 14, 2020
Maia will definitely go down as one of the best fighters never to win a UFC title. He said after the fight that it’s probably going to be a case of one more and done. Burns made it clear how much he respects his fellow Brazilian and also hopes he gets a great send-off when he retires.
“I’ve been following this guy through his whole career,” Burns said after his win. “I have a tremendous admiration and respect, he’s a future Hall of Famer. I hope Demian gets a big fight. Anderson Silva next, I hope they give him that rematch.”
“I call next. Colby Covington. You gonna see me. You’re gonna see me. I’m going to … beat you up. You’re lucky we’re on ESPN.”
"He got me with the hook… he did well and he deserves [it]."@demianmaia made no excuses when discusses Gilbert Burns' win at #UFCBrasilia, revealing he plans to fight one more time before retirement pic.twitter.com/fJhgLcJR7f
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 15, 2020
This was one of the strangest nights in the history of the UFC. No fans were allowed because of the coronavirus. So there was an eerie atmosphere. The card saw a decision after decision before three finishes in the last three fights. In the main event, Kevin Lee saw his dreams crushed by Charles Oliveira. ‘Do Bronx’ got him in a third-round guillotine.
The UFC remains defiant in the face of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, the UFC Apex in Las Vegas will no longer be an option after Nevada canceled all sporting events. Of course, public health is more important than fighting. But what about Tony Ferguson and Khabib. Let’s stick them on a cruise ship and let the last man leave.