With a 7-2 record and a four-fight winning streak in the UFC's welterweight division, Demian Maia is a certified contender and has earned himself a spot in the 170-pound top-ten rankings. But although the division is as competitive as it has been in a long time, it could see a fast-rising superstar from two divisions below immediately skyrocket to a title fight.
Featherweight champion Conor McGregor and his team have been vocal about a welterweight title opportunity, should he beat lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196, March 6 in Las Vegas.
It would be the Irishman's second consecutive title fight in a weight class above his own -- and a move that would seriously upset BJJ specialist Maia, who dominantly defeated Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny in his two recent fights.
"That's crazy," Maia said during Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "We are athletes, and we work very hard in our way to the title. I understand that this fight would make a lot of money, but as an athlete, I don't agree with that. I can't disagree more. [...]
"Give me that title shot if I win (against Brown)," the Brazilian said in a message to UFC president Dana White. "If I win that fight I wanna fight for the title. Forget about McGregor."
According to Maia, however, the situation will solve itself, since he doesn't believe that McGregor will be able to beat lightweight champion dos Anjos anyway.
"I don't think he will win against Rafael," said Maia."It's too much weight difference. I think it's a different body type. Rafael is very tough, he proved that in his last fights. I'm sure (Conor) has his chance, of course. [...] I hope he doesn't win (against dos Anjos)."
Maia is expected to face Matt Brown at UFC 198, on May 14.