Demian Maia may be the rightful heir to get the next shot at the UFC welterweight title, but he wasn’t going to earn a fight with Tyron Woodley by sitting and waiting.
According to Maia, the UFC gave him only one option if he wanted to get a shot at the gold.
He had to face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 in May and with a win he could still potentially fight for the belt, but sitting on the sidelines and still earning a title shot were no longer options.
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“I did not change anything in my head, it changed in the head of the UFC,” Maia told AGFight in Brazil. “[The UFC] said I would have to take this fight to be able to fight for the title. I had an option, which was to accept the fight if I wanted to fight for the belt [after that], and I accepted.
“Who decides who will fight for the title is the UFC.”
Maia didn’t want to go into too many details regarding his negotiation to take the fight with Masvidal or the behind the scenes conversations he had with the UFC about the matchup.
The only thing that was clear was Maia wasn’t going to fight for the title without at least facing one more opponent despite his current six-fight win streak.
“There are things that happen and we have to keep [quiet] and do what has to be done”, Maia said. “I can not talk about everything that happens because it involves other people and it involves everything that helps or hinders my career.”
For now, Maia will continue his preparation in hopes of getting a win over Masvidal and then finally earning his shot at Woodley and the welterweight title later this year.
Nothing is guaranteed, however, so Maia’s performance will likely play a large part in whether or not he’s competing for gold by the end of 2017.