Demian Maia eyes Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine for next fight

Photo via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Only two weeks out from his dominant decision over Jon Fitch at UFC 156, Demian Maia already knows who he wants to fight next.

Former UFC Middleweight contender Demian Maia has completely reinvigorated his career since dropping down to Welterweight in 2012. He made his 170 lb. debut with a quick and odd win over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148. He proved that was no fluke by submitting Rick Story in the first round at UFC 153. Most recently, he put on one of the most impressive performances of his career by dominating Jon Fitch from bell to bell at UFC 156.

Now, with the top of the division logjammed and waiting for the outcome of UFC 158, Maia isn't ready to lose his momentum. Tuesday on UFC Tonight, Ariel Helwani said Maia knows who he wants to fight next:

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.

Saffiedine impressed many MMA fans when he overcame the odds in a dominant decision win over Nate Marquardt in the January. The two headlined the final Strikeforce event and Tarec countered Marquardt's aggressive striking style by exploiting the holes in his defense. Tarec battered Marquardt's legs with a bevy of low-kicks over the 25 minute fight to claim the 170 lb. title and earn himself a spot on the UFC roster.


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