Demian Maia wants to go 4-0 as a welterweight with a win over Jake Shields on Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 29 card in Barueri, Brazil, and he expects to be the next in line for the 170-pound title after he finishes the submission expert.
After the open training for UFC’s card in Barueri, Maia spoke to the media and said he doesn’t see anyone in better position to fight for the title after Johny Hendricks challenges Georges St. Pierre at UFC 167.
"I hope I can get the chance after I win," Maia said during the media scrum in Barueri. "It will be four wins in a row. I’ve already fought for the title in the middleweight (division), so I’ll be better ranked. The other fighters ranked higher than me already fought for the (welterweight) title."
Shields hasn’t lost in his last three bouts, but his unanimous decision win over Ed Herman was later overturned to a no contest after he failed his drug test at UFC 150. Shields isn’t currently ranked in the top 10, but Maia doesn’t believe that will be a problem.
"Shields is not well ranked not but he already defeated Carlos Condit, a former UFC interim champion, and he’s a former Strikeforce champion," he said. "These rankings don’t mean much, but I believe I’ll be able (to earn a title shot with a win). I don’t see another fighter to fight."
Maia will be the crowd favorite on Wednesday, and he expects to turn the pressure of fighting in front of his countrymen into a positive factor.
"I like to fight under pressure, and it will be huge here," Maia said. "I know a lot of people here and this pressure will help me to perform well there. I think that if I submit him, I’ll get closer to the title."