EXCLUSIVE | Lyman Good has been waiting a long time for an opponent like Demian Maia

Lyman Good

Lyman Good will face his toughest test in the UFC when he takes on Demian Maia in Brazil on February 2.

Good used to be the Bellator welterweight champion and CFFC’s interim welterweight champion before signing with the UFC. Since then, Good has has gone 2-1 in the UFC, most recently knocking out Ben Saunders at UFC 230. That win earned him the biggest fight of his career against Maia.

“It is such a high sense of validation, that is what it is,” Good told BJPENN.com of this fight with Maia. “I’m blessed for the opportunity. I have been doing this for a long time and slowly grinding away and just waiting for my moment, my opportunity to be able to show the world I belong among the top-ten. I am one of the best, so when I got the news I was ecstatic, I was almost in tears. That is how excited I was for the opportunity. To be given such a high-level fighter and a chance to be top-15, I’m just pumped.”

Good has been working non-stop since his win over Saunders to get a high-level opponent and now he has one in Maia. He knows he is a good enough fighter to be a title contender in the UFC and will finally have a chance to show it when he takes on Maia.

“I think it will put me on notice and it will prove to everybody that I am able to compete against a high-level jiu-jitsu [fighter] or wrestler. That I am still here to compete and that I’m still dangerous,” he said. “Just over time, I have gotten better. It was a matter of riding away over the years and just keep training, keep learning, and getting better so I can prove myself against better opponents.”

When Good steps into the cage with Maia in Brazil, he’ll play the role of the visiting team. He knows he’s likely to receive his fair share of boos in Maia’s backyard, but he’s not worried about that.

“Honestly, it is like any other fight. At the end of the day, there are only two people in the cage, you know. I am going to go in there and use the energy to motivate me,” Good said. “Sometimes it is good to not have the home crowd because the pressure is not on you. I was thankful for the way the Saunders fight ended because that was my home crowd, and I had a high sense of motivation because the crowd was there for me. This time it is great because there is no pressure on me. I am the underdog going into the fight, sometimes that is a good thing. No pressure, just go out there and do your job.”

Good’s training camp for this fight is well underway. Given Maia’s skillset, he is spending a lot of time training jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Yet while he’s sharpening up these parts of his game as a precaution, he admits he always prefers to win by knockout.

“Everyone wants to see a knockout, it is the most spectacular fashion of winning. I will be content with trying to end the fight whichever way possible,” he said. “I like standing up, I like the knockouts, but I don’t look for it, I don’t force it. Just go out there and becoming confident enough to let the hands go. Feeling comfortable enough in there to fight no matter where the fight is and just let the hands go. I’ll be happy either way, just want the W.”

A win over Demian Maia could catapult Good into the rankings and make him a legitimate welterweight title contender. Getting to that point has always been his goal, and it can all start on February 2.

“Everyone is going to see the rankings afterward, but the rankings have a strange way of putting people. I’m not somebody who cares about numbers,” Good said. “I just want to fight and move my way up the food chain. Just get my opportunity to get a shot to fight for the title one day. The end goal is the championship, whoever I have to get through and however long I have to get to that point.”

Do you think Lyman Good can get by Demian Maia on February 2?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/2/2019.