Maia at ease outside of comfort zone

As Demian Maia’s career winds down, the veteran says he is fully aware that Kamaru Usman’s wrestling-heavy style will pose him problems this weekend but that he embraces such challenges.

Maia is 40-years-old and is on a two-fight losing skid. One might think that those two factors might push him toward accepting easier fights. However, that is certainly not the case.

This weekend the UFC is in Chile and Maia’s welterweight bout with Usman is the main event.

Usman is nine years younger than Maia and possibly in the prime of his career having strung together six consecutive wins since joining the UFC back in 2015. Furthermore, wrestlers have also proved to be Maia’s kryptonite in recent times and Usman enjoys nothing more than a grapple and a scrap on the canvas.

Maia’s decision to accept the fight makes little sense, especially on short notice.

Where as others are concerned with wins, losses and reputations though, Maia is more concerned with testing himself.

“I know these matchups, very good wrestlers, are tough for me, but it’s a challenge that I know I can overcome,” Maia said.

“I beat them before, I fought tough wrestlers before and that was the guy to fight right now. That was the challenge and I think he, for me, is probably the biggest challenge right now in the top guys of the division, or one of the biggest.

“So let’s go, I’m here, I want to stop one day, I want to look back and see that I come and face the challenge and that will be perfect for me one day.

“Not just thinking about winning, losing, or don’t take a fight because you don’t want to risk your reputation, but I think it’s a fight that is a difficult fight, but you know is a good challenge.

“That’s what made me compete here and that’s what’s going to make me keep going in my life even after I retire, the challenges.”

Saturday will mark Maia’s 28th appearance in the octagon which will mean he is tied third for the most UFC appearances of all time. He has recently signed a contract for four more fights and thereafter will most likely retire.

“I’m thinking that I want to fight this year, maybe next year finish these fights on my contract because I love to fight and I’m still performing well during training camps,” he went on.

“But I don’t know if I will still fight after next year.”