After Demian Maia earned his seventh straight Octagon triumph over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 to cement his status as the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division, he talked about taking some time off before challenging for the belt.
Those plans didn’t align with Tyron Woodley’s desires, however, which is why Maia is facing the reigning champion at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday night. When the Las Vegas-based promotion called to offer the fight, the 39-year-old Brazilian knew he had to seize the opportunity.
“When we got the notice for the fight, five weeks before I was kind of wondering [if it was a good idea],” Maia said. “But then we said this could be the only chance we have, let’s take this chance.”
As a result, Maia did not have the traditional camp to prepare for his showdown with Woodley, a decorated wrestler with serious knockout power.
“We knew we couldn’t make any mistakes in this camp,” he said. “When you have a 10-week camp, you can make some mistakes and correct them along the way. For this camp, you couldn’t. Actually we had four weeks of training and the fight week. What we did was very intense, but everything worked very well. My team was great and everything was great.”
Maia, whose current winning streak includes triumphs over the likes of Carlos Condit, Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson, and Neil Magny, won’t be getting any sympathy from Woodley because his training camp wasn’t the ideal length.
“I just wanted to fight. I didn’t want to take a break. I didn’t want to wait until the end of the year,” Woodley said. “I felt like as a challenger you step up and fight, and that’s why we’re fighting Saturday.”