More than a few people have argued that Demian Maia hasn’t been tapped for a title shot, because he doesn’t move PPV buys, but the vaunted grappler doesn’t agree with that theory.
Although Maia has won six straight fights, and has submitted top tier welterweights like Carlos Condit, Matt Brown and Neil Magny during that time, the Brazilian was passed over for Tyron Woodley – Stephen Thompson II. More recently, Maia’s been booked to fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211, May 13th.
As a result, a narrative has been created, which argues Maia hasn’t received a title shot, because he isn’t a big enough draw. The idea being that mainstream fans aren’t interested in watching ground specialists, even if Maia’s arguably the most dominant grappler in the game.
Well, recently Maia was on “The MMA Hour”, and while discussing the idea that he can’t sell fights, the 39 year-old said this (quote via MMA Fighting):
“Everybody says, ‘oh this guy sell fights, this other guys doesn’t sell fights,’ but the reality is that in the welterweight division nobody sells fights well,” Maia said. “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…
“The UFC needs to promote a little bit more, and welterweight is a division that is hard to sell nowadays and that’s it. 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.”
There’s no doubt that if Maia was fighting for the 170 title, it would generate a ton of interest in Brazil. It also seems like a lot of hardcore and longtime fans are also big time, Maia enthusiasts. After all, watching Maia work on the ground can be a magical thing, for folks who understand what’s going on.
If Maia gets throught Masvidal, it would be hard to imagine him not getting a title shot then. Although, the MMA world was saying something very similar about Yoel Romero, before he fought Chris Weidman…