Finding resurgent momentum after a drop in weight classes, UFC fighter Demian Maia has steadily climbed the rankings at 170 lbs. Facing Jake Shields in the main event of Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 29, Maia believes that an impressive win over Shields will earn him a shot at the welterweight belt.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
It is a sports cliché to call a fighter’s performance ‘vintage,’ but no other term does justice to Demian Maia’s current streak.
Coming into the UFC in 2007, Demian Maia was on a roll. He entered with a 6-0 record and proceeded to win his first 5 fights inside the Octagon, all by submission. Then, after a devastating knockout loss to Nate Marquardt in 2009, Maia’s record in the UFC hit a plateau of sorts. Following that fight, he fought to a 4-3 record, his last fight a unanimous-decision loss to now-champion, Chris Weidman.
Then Maia made the decision to drop weight and fight at welterweight, a move that has rejuvenated Maia. He has won his last three fights with two finishes and a unanimous decision over Jon Fitch. As he is set to face Jake Shields tomorrow night at UFC Fight Night 29, Maia believes his momentum will carry him to a title shot, and soon.
“These rankings don’t mean much,” Maia told MMAFighting.com about his current position at number 4 in the division, “but I believe I’ll be able (to earn a title shot with a win). I don’t see another fighter to fight.”
Indeed, the only two fighters ranked higher than Maia, Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald, are both booked for fights in the coming months. Depending on how those fights play out, Maia would most likely fight one of the winners from those two fights as the last step before a title shot.
Of course, for the Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist with half his wins by way of submission, he does see a way to convincingly earn the big fight sooner rather than later.
“I think that if I submit [Shields], I’ll get closer to the title.”
Shields, another very strong grappler and BJJ black belt, holds 10 submission victories and has never been submitted. Whether that would be enough to earn Maia the title shot or not remains to be seen, but submitting Jake Shields would be an impressive feat in itself.
Be sure to catch the action as Demian Maia and Jake Shield meet at UFC Fight Night 29, live from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The card begins at 5pm/2pm ETPT with preliminary fights airing on FOX Sports 1, and the main card beginning at 7pm/4pm ETPT on the same network.Tags: demian Maia, Jake Shields, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc fight night, UFC Fight Night 29, ufc fight night 29: maia vs. shields, ufc news