Maia looks to fight former Strikeforce champion
With welterweight contenders Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, and Jake Ellenberger all tied up with their fights, it seems as though BJJ wizard Demian Maia is on the outside looking in with no opponent currently lined up. However, it appears that he has his sights set on former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine.
UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani spoke with Maia's manager about the potential matchup:
Demian Maia had an amazing performance a couple weeks back. He's looking very good at 170 and he's been talking about Tarec Saffiedine. I spoke to his manager and he said that's the fight that interests them the most. The last Strikeforce welterweight champion is coming over to the UFC and he now has a big bull's-eye on his back. The UFC has not said what's next for him, and he hasn't said what's next for him, but Demian Maia thinks because all these big welterweights are booked on the UFC 158 card, that Tarec Saffiedine would make the most sense for him.
With most of the welterweight division tied up at UFC 158, this is the bout that makes the most sense for Maia, and Saffiedine as well. Maia has looked like a man possessed since dropping to 170 lbs, dominating Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, and perennial contender Jon Fitch. And while Saffiedine has never fought in the UFC, it would be a nice feather in the cap to defeat a former champion, especially when you consider that the Belgium native last beat the only man to KO Maia, Nate Marquart.
The former Strikeforce champion looked outstanding and dominating in his last victory over the very formidable Marquardt, and a win over the surging Maia would likely skyrocket him to the category of "in the mix" for a title shot.
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