Prior to UFC Fight Night 129, Demian Maia revealed plans to retire upon the completion of his current contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Those plans haven’t changed despite what could have been a disheartening defeat to Kamaru Usman in Saturday’s main event at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. Maia repeatedly failed on takedown attempts against a superior wrestler, and as a result he was battered on the feet en route to losing a clear-cut five-round verdict. Maia stepped in to replace Usman’s original foe, Santiago Ponzinibbio, on short notice.
“I still have three fights on my contract, I want to do those three fights,” Maia said at the post-fight press conference. “This was short notice for this fight. I only prepared three weeks and my last three fights were against wrestlers. My game plan is to take the fighters down, so these were tough fights. I still have the will to finish my contract.”
In his last three bouts, against Usman, Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley, Maia has failed on all 49 of his takedown attempts. Styles make fights, and it’s clear that a strong wrestling base doesn’t agree with the Brazilian grappling ace.
While the 40-year-old Maia may no longer have welterweight title aspirations, his 19 career wins are one short of the promotional record, which is held by Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre and Donald Cerrone. His goal is to etch his name in the record books before he bids farewell to the sport.
“I’m more focused on breaking records in the UFC,” Maia said. “My last three fights were against top wrestlers. I’m gonna keep focused on my last three fights and try to break those records.”
Maia has never been one to pick his opponents, but a stylistic change could benefit him as his UFC career winds down.
“I already the fought the toughest wrestlers in the division…But it’s not in my power to choose my opponent,” he said. “It’s all about the UFC wants me to do. But I’m definitely looking for a different opponent.”