For a time, Gray Maynard was regarded as one of the very best lightweights on earth. In fact, he very nearly captured the UFC lightweight title, battling then champion Frankie Edgar to a razor close 2011 draw.
Since then, however, it’s been a turbulent flight for Maynard. Since his near title win against Edgar, he has gone a tough 3-6, defeating Clay Guida, Fernando Bruno and Teruto Ishihara, but losing Frankie Edgar, TJ Grant, Nate Diaz, Ross Pearson, Alexander Yakovlev and Ryan Hall, with four of those defeats coming by way of knockout.
All the same, the 38-year-old Maynard is still eyeing the top names at both lightweight and featherweight, where he has recently competed.
“(At) 145, I really want to make a statement,” Maynard recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “I want to get to the top names. (At) 155, I believe I could do that too. But I’m down at (145), and it’s pretty easy to make. But if I’ve got to go up to get a fight, I’ll do it if that’s what it takes.”
“It doesn’t really matter [who the opponent is],” Maynard said. “Just trying to get back on track to get to the top names. Whoever it is, let’s do it.”
Apparently, Maynard is even willing to go the way of fighters like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Michael Bisping, and accept short-notice fights, so long as the reward is worth the risk.
“It interests me,” Maynard said. “I’m at that point where my career has got to make sense. And it does kind of interest me if it’s a good name. I pretty much stay in the gym year-round. So I’d do that, yeah.”
Are there any fighters in the UFC featherweight and lightweight divisions that strike you as good opponents for the ever-dangerous veteran Gray Maynard? Join the conversation in the comments section.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 28/11/2017.