UFC 205 will see UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley defend the gold against Stephen Thompson, but top contender Demian Maia believes that after UFC 205, he is next in line for a title shot.
“I'm very confident I'll get a title shot next,” stated Maia to The Bloody Elbow. “I have to be. We have to keep in mind that this is a sport and in order to keep growing we have to always keep that in sight. The proper balance between spectacle, entertainment, and sport is very important, and I don't see anyone else in the welterweight division deserving the next title shot more than I do at this point.”
Maia says one of the biggest reasons that he deserves an opportunity at the gold is due to his winning streak, which is longer than a lot of the fighters who recently got title opportunities.
“If you look at the recent welterweight title fights [in] history, if memory serves me well, Woodley got a title shot on a two-fight winning streak, Condit got it after one win, Lawler got it after a three-fight win streak, and then again after two wins in a row, Nick Diaz got it after a loss, Rory on a three-fight winning streak... The only exceptions were Hendricks, who won six before a shot, and Wonderboy now, who got his well deserved shot after seven wins in a row. So, I really believe I earned it and I have to believe that will be the case. I'm turning 39-years-old, and I feel like I'm still getting better and performing better with each fight. I have been in this sport for a long time, and I paid my dues. I'm going to New York and I want to get the next shot.” Maia said.
In the back of Maia’s mind is the potential return of former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, who could jump him in line and get a title shot if he does return to the octagon.
“I really try not to stress over those kinds of things,” he said. “Because you can't really stress about things you don't control. GSP's return is not in my control, and we hear so many different things. I mean, he declared himself a free-agent, then he sat with the UFC to discuss his future, and then there were rumors of a fight against Bisping, so who knows? I think they are most likely considering the money they can make out of that fight, I mean, who wouldn't want to defend the belt against GSP in a PPV show? I don't want to judge now, they will fight each other and we will see what happens and how things unfold.”
Donald Cerrone has also been outspoken in regards to facing Maia, but Maia would like a title shot first.
“Cerrone is a great fighter, very tough fighter and he has been fighting pretty much everybody and all the time recently,” said Maia. “I respect him a lot. Right now all I want is to fight for the belt. It's nothing against Cerrone, or nothing against fighting him in the future, I know it would be a good fight, but I don't want to take any other fights before I get my title shot, it certainly wouldn't make sense at this moment to fight at UFC 207.”
Maia’s next fight has yet to be announced by himself or the UFC, but he will be in attendance this weekend at UFC 205.