UFC 118 SB Nation Exclusive Interview: Gray Maynard Talks Title Shot

BOSTON - AUGUST 28: Gray Maynard (L) fights against Kenny Florian during their UFC lightweight bout at the TD Garden on August 28 2010 in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

David St. Martin catches up with Gray Maynard in the wake of his win over Kenny Florian at UFC 118 in an exclusive SBNation.com interview:

I would think tactic-wise both Florian and Edgar would have a similar gameplan against you, moving in and out of range. 

I believe I'll be able to open up in the striking more. With a southpaw you have to wait a bit more and that's all I've been fighting recently. Rich Clementi, Jim Miller, Roger Huerta, Nate Diaz, and now Florian, all southpaws. It's been the same thing in every fight. They're not the easiest to go up against just because they're a change of pace. That's why a lot of people don't know how to deal with them. Against Edgar, I'll be able to open up a lot more. He used his footwork really well but I've boxed a lot of good guys who can move and throw punches in flurries. That's fine, I'm prepared for that.

Are you able to look at BJ Penn's performances against Edgar and recognize things he did wrong and how you'll do something differently?

BJ has never been a guy to try to move a lot. He stalks people. You have to be able to move, so I think that was a problem for him. I don't know if he's into it anymore or what, you just can't tell. I didn't have a chance to talk to him backstage.

You have a reputation as not being able to finish fights, always going to a decision. Is that a result of your fighting style or just fighting tough guys? None of these guys you've fought recently are getting stopped too often.

That's what I keep telling people! Who is stopping them? Name a name and I'll bow down, but who is stopping these guys? That's why I can't pay attention to these people. If you're a true sports fan who enjoys MMA and really try to understand it, you'll get it. Look at Edgar. He's only ever lost to myself. Look at Clementi, who has 52 professional fights and has only been stopped a handful of times. Jim Miller has only lost to the champion and myself. Huerta has never been stopped. Pretty much the same thing with Nate Diaz. Florian did get stopped by Penn, but you see what I mean. It's an excuse, but that's just how it is. I'm asking for the top guys. The decisions are just part of it. The sport is growing so much that these fights are just going to keep getting closer and closer. I don't know what people are going to do, but there are going to be a lot more close fights. More fighters are able to pull in the cash you need to hire the top coaches and eat and train right. We're going up against the guys where that's all they do year round. They train everyday. The gap is going to start to close on these title fights. Guys are getting better and better. People will start to appreciate it, it just takes time.

Read the rest at SBNation.com.


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