Last weekend, on the main card of UFC 211, Demian Maia scored a close but impressive win over Jorge Masvidal, and appeared to earn himself his long awaited shot at the UFC welterweight title in the process. On Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour, UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley discussed Maia’s performance and weighed in the possibility of a fight with him.
As ever, Woodley made no secret of the fact that bouts with Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz excite him far more than a possible fight with Maia. That said, the champ assured he would fight Maia, and that he considers the Brazilian grappling wizard his easiest top-10 foe.
“I’m not against fighting Demian Maia,” Woodley explained. “I think, out of all the guys in the top-10 that are really threatening guys who are frightening in the Octagon — whether it’s submissions or knockouts or just their ability to be tough — I match up the best with him. I’ve fought that style so many different times. I’ve trained against that style.”
“My last five fights have been against southpaws — Dong Hyun Kim, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, Stephen Thompson — so as far as the stance and the style, I’ve seen it so many times and I have such great resources, guys like Ben Askren. I might even pick up the phone and grab Jake Shields, because a lot of people don’t realize that Jake Shields went to Brazil and dominated Demian Maia.”
While Woodley considers Maia to be a very surmountable challenge, he then reiterated that he does not consider him an especially exciting opponent, as he is a little tired of fighting “specialists.”
“The two best specialists in our sport just so happen to be in my weight class,” he said. “There’s no other weight class that has these guys who are specialists who are still around. It’s not like the Royce Gracie days, but Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia have found a way to adapt their striking style and grappling style into an MMA style, and it’s very frustrating. So I was excited — Jorge Masvidal, he kinda pumped me out a little bit with some of his shenanigans during the interviews. It would’ve been a fun training camp.”
What do you think of a Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia matchup?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2017.