Is Jennifer Maia a win away from challenging Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC flyweight belt?
A former Invicta FC titleholder and victorious in her last two bouts inside the Octagon, Maia is set to take on Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 244 in New York on Nov. 2. Chookagian defeated Joanne Calderwood in June, and Maia, who signed a new six-fight deal with the company ahead of UFC 244, believes she’s entering into a No. 1 contender bout at Madison Square Garden.
“I’m a former champion at Invicta, the world’s biggest women’s promotion, and I’m confident I’ll be fighting for the title soon,” Maia told MMA Fighting. “I think that this fight with Katlyn will put me in title contention. I’m super excited for this fight. Katlyn and I will put on a great fight and I’ll earn the chance to be next in line against Valentina.”
Shevchenko is undefeated since cutting down to 125 pounds, capped off by a decision victory against Liz Carmouche at UFC Uruguay earlier this month. Maia, on the other hand, is coming off a decision win over veteran Roxanne Modafferi at UFC on ESPN 4.
And even though Maia didn’t make weight in San Antonio, she doesn’t expect it to play against her title aspirations since “my history shows that has never happened before.”
“The women body is different, it doesn’t always work the way we expect,” Maia said. “I’m getting more mature, it’s not how it used to be when I was 20. I’m 30 now. My last weight cuts were hard and I kept following the same strategy. This time my body said, ‘No, I’ve suffered too much and I won’t go through this again.’”
Modafferi didn’t appear to digest that well, though. On her social media, the veteran fighter criticized the fact that another opponent has missed weight and not apologized.
In my 44-fight career, 4 opponents missed weight, and I lost 3 of those fights. Not once did any of them come up before or after the fight and say, “Gee, sorry I missed weight. Thanks for fighting me anyway.” It would be nice considering the blows I took to my career & wallet. :/— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) July 23, 2019
“Every interview I did I said I was really sorry,” Maia responded. “I don’t know what she was expecting, maybe a statement on social media or something like that. I sent her a (direct message) on Instagram. Maybe she wanted something in public, I don’t know.”
“I was always a professional fighter and never had anything against her,” she continued. “Everyone who knows me knows how professional I am. I was devastated and disappointed for missing weight, but I really don’t know what she expected from me. I’m embarrassed that it happened. I wasn’t happy at all, but there’s nothing else I can do.”