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Demian Maia plans to retire by end of 2020, eyes Diego Sanchez next

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The welterweight contender wants to face Sanchez at UFC Sao Paulo in November.

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Demian Maia is nearing the end of his career as an MMA fighter.

Maia said after his win over Anthony Rocco Martin last weekend at UFC Minneapolis that he plans on retiring by the end of 2020, but that we could see him step away even sooner than that.

Maia said he hopes to be on the UFC Sao Paulo card on Nov. 16 — possibly against Diego Sanchez, who meets Michael Chiesa at UFC 239 on Saturday — and then he’ll take things from there.

“After that, I will see if I want to do a couple more fights or not, if the UFC wants to,” Maia said in his post-fight scrum (via MMA Junkie), adding that had he lost to Martin he would have for sure fought only once more. “But for sure, if not the end of this year, next year in 2020 will be my last fights. I’ve been just in the UFC for 12 years, and I feel pretty healthy.

Maia said in retirement, he wants to continue training with his team, developing his affiliate academies, and hosting seminars around the world. One of his major goals is to continue to spread jiu-jitsu across the world, he said.

“Don’t get me wrong — I love going to academy every day and training as hard as I can; I love to learn,” Maia said. “But I have other plans.

“When you are in the UFC, you gotta save 80 percent of your time for that. I want to do other nice stuff, other things that give me pleasure also.”

Maia said before his win over Martin that he is not too focused on winning the UFC title and that he would be content if he retires without that accomplishment under his belt. His main goal in his last year in MMA is to pass Donald Cerrone for most wins in UFC history; Maia sits at 21, while “Cowboy” is at 23.

“It [would mean] a lot (to hold that record),” Maia said. “It’s hard to be in the UFC one year. Today, I did my 30th fight in the UFC, and I’ve been in the UFC for 12 years. It means a lot to me to be in the biggest event for so long.”