For these reasons alone, many believe that Maia should be getting the next crack at the 170-pound world title. However, the much-coveted shot at the belt has seemingly eluded him for a while now, due to the current title picture in the welterweight division.
But if he were asked, the current number three-ranked contender feels a good handful are still doubtful about his ability to sell fights. It is something he obviously disagrees with:
“Everybody says, ‘oh this guy sell fights, this other guy doesn’t sell fights,’” Maia said during Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “But the reality is that in the welterweight division nobody sells fights well. Sometimes people push off my shoulders with these things, but in my last fight, I got a submission win, and in previous fights, I’ve had great performances and people want to watch my fights.”
“I’m not saying that their last fight [Woodley vs. Thompson] was bad, but everybody knew it didn’t sell well, it wasn’t so exciting. So it’s not just my problem, it’s all of us together.”
“The UFC needs to promote a little bit more, and welterweight is a division that is hard to sell nowadays and that’s it,” he continued. “I think that people believe in lies and they repeat the lies so many times that the people start to believe, ‘ah, Demian is not fighting for the title because he doesn’t sell.’ And that’s not true, I wouldn’t sell worse than ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson did, I think I could sell better.”
Maia says he was also puzzled about the making of the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson for UFC 209, especially since the first fight was already “really boring” due to the lack of action in the first three rounds.
“Marketing is everything. When I watched the first fight between Woodley and Thompson, and I want to make clear that I really admire both guys, for me the fight was really boring at UFC 205 because nobody pulled the trigger for three rounds. The fourth round there was a scramble and that was really exciting, but then the fifth round was so-so again.”
“But in order to make the second fight, the UFC gave them Fight of the Night because after two or three weeks nobody would remember well and then the people would say, ‘okay, it was a nice fight because it was Fight of the Night,’” Maia said. “But for me, that was far [from being] Fight of the Night. So people start to talk about that and that makes a buzz for the next fight, so it’s not so hard. When you want to push somebody, you can do it.”