UFC welterweight title hopeful Demian Maia is getting some anxiety with just the talk of UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor getting a title shot in the welterweight division. McGregor is scheduled to fight for the UFC lightweight title on March 5 at UFC 196 against the lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. McGregor and his team have said that with a win over dos Anjos, going up to 170 for the welterweight is something in their sights.
Maia spoke with Ariel Helwani on the MMA hour on Monday about his feelings on McGregor making his way up to the welterweight division.
“Sad, you know, because that’s crazy,” Maia said (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “We are athletes, and we work very hard in our way to the title. I understand that this fight would make a lot of money, but as an athlete, I don’t agree with that. I can’t disagree more.
“If you think okay, you gotta work, do a couple fights at least to prove that you can fight because it’s a different division. But, at the end of the day, I don’t think he will win against Rafael.”
Maia feels that the difference in weight classes will be a hinderance to McGregor.
“It’s too much weight difference,” he said. “I think it’s a different body type. Rafael is very tough, he proved that in his last fights. I’m sure (Conor) has his chance, of course. He proved that against Aldo.
“Most people that understand the sport didn’t think he was going to win, and he did in a fashion way. It was crazy. I was shocked. I went to the corridor to watch the fight, just relax, and when the things happened I was shocked. I was really, ‘what the f—’.”
Maia is looking to get his own title shot at 170-pounds, and simply hopes dos Anjos derails McGregor so he does not have to worry about him skipping ahead of the welterweight contenders to the title.
“I hope he doesn’t win (against dos Anjos),” he laughed.
Maia is set to face Matt Brown in Brazil in a UFC Fight Night card on May 14 and sent a message to Dana White.
“Give me that title shot if I win,” said the Brazilian. “If I win that fight I wanna fight for the title. Forget about McGregor.”