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Demian Maia won’t ‘sell myself’ to get UFC welterweight title shot

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UFC 211 photos

Demian Maia places a high value on winning the UFC welterweight championship.

But he’s not willing to sell his soul to get there.

“A lot of people came up to me and said you need to trash talk,” Maia said on Saturday night in Dallas. “That’s not me.”

Maia won his seventh consecutive fight at UFC 211, earning a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at American Airlines Center. By virtue of the win, he’s expected to get the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s championship.

But Maia’s heard this one before. At several steps along the way, he was expected to get the crack at 170-pound gold, only to have circumstances conspire to yank away his opportunity.

So, even with UFC president Dana White saying on Saturday that Maia has next, you can forgive him for deciding he’ll believe it when he sees it.

“What I learned lately in my life is that, don’t get too stressed with things that I don’t have control,” Maia said. “Once I won against Gunnar Nelson, they invited me to watch [Robbie] Lawler and [Carlos] Condit in that time. I was supposed to be the next, they were recording me, I was in the front row, but then things change.

“Then I came and won against Matt Brown and they say okay now we’re gonna fight, and then, no, let’s fight Condit. And then I won against Condit, former interim champion, in a very good way and said, ‘okay, now we’re going to fight,’ and no, and finally I got this one. I don’t know, you know? I just relax and I not put this pressure on me anymore.”

And if he does, in fact, get the title shot, he’s not going to suddenly pretend he’s someone he’s not just to sell an extra pay-per-view or two.

“That’s my personality,” Maia said. “I’m not going to change that. I’m not going to sell myself just because I want to be a champion, just because I want to make more money, you know? I don’t sell myself. I am what I am. I’m a role model for a lot of people, for my kids. I don’t want to just change because I want to make more money. I’m going to do something, more people are going to like me, I know I have a lot of fans, and it’s a big mistake try to please everybody.”

With his victory over Masvidal, Maia — a former middleweight title challenger before he dropped down to 170 — claimed his 19th career UFC win, tying him with Georges St-Pierre and Donald Cerrone for second behind Michael Bisping’s 20 for the second-most all-time.

Maia credited Masvidal for giving him what he considered his toughest win in his current run.

“I’ve won seven in a row and I think that was probably the toughest one,” Maia said, “because, the last fights I was controlling all the time, even the fights I didn’t submit, but this one was tougher. You know he really came prepared for my jiu-jitsu and he was defending well the submissions, but I was able to get my positions and I was trying to submit him all the time.”