On Saturday night at UFC 190, Demian Maia put on perhaps his most impressive performance to date by dominating the ever-talented Neil Magny, who was riding an impressive 6-fight win streak. Entering his fight with Magny, many had questioned Maia’s ability to hang with the newer crop of mixed martial artist, a question that Maia answered emphatically with a sublime second round rear-naked choke.
Maia’s performance on Saturday night seen him match the form he displayed early in his UFC career, when he earned himself a title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 112 where he lost a unanimous decision. At 37, Maia is likely entering the twilight of his career but in a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, the Brazilian spoke of his title aspirations and how he feels he would match-up with UFC champion Robbie Lawler.
“(The fight would be) pretty tough,” Maia said. “Of course, he’s tough. He’s experienced, he’s not young. He has a lot of experience. What he did to Rory (MacDonald at UFC 189)? Rory’s great. I fought him, I know he’s great. And he was winning the fight and Robbie was able to pull the win in the last round. Robbie is a guy with big heart, he’s hard to take down, heavy hands, he deserves to be a champion. I wish I can fight him one day for the title.”
While Maia was quick to credit Lawler’s fighting talents, he went on to elaborate on how he felt he could beat the champion by using his world class jiu-jitsu:
“In my case (the ground is) the only way,” Maia said. “I’m not going to exchange punches. His hands are too heavy. You see what he did in his last fight. He’s tough. He has a big heart and it’s hard to take him down. But if I’m able to take him down I know I can win. I can do that to pretty much anyone in the division.”
Lawler last appeared at UFC 189 where he overcame adversity to defeat Rory MacDonald in a fight of the year candidate. Following his fight with MacDonald, Lawler received a 45 day medical suspension for a brutal lip laceration.
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