A month after doubling down on his retirement plans, Demian Maia changed his tone.
Moments after Gilbert Burns ruined his winning streak with a first-round knockout in Brasilia, Brazil, on March 14, Maia said he planned to enter the cage for the final bout of his UFC deal against Diego Sanchez or Donald Cerrone.
The jiu-jitsu wizard is still interested in sharing the cage with one of those veterans for a welterweight clash, but is flirting with the idea of adding another bout to contract with the company.
In an interview with Canal Encarada, Maia admits his retirement plans “changed a bit” after the loss to Burns last month.
“My desire is to maybe do this next fight and one more,” he said. “But if (my next) is the last one, no problem at all. I’m really okay with it. I think I’ve fulfilled my role and I’m happy with what I’ve done all these years.”
Maia’s post-MMA life includes having his own podcast and YouTube channel, as well as releasing a book with his life stories. That said, he would postpone it all for a chance to become the winningest fighter in UFC history.
Cerrone currently stands alone at the top of that list with 23 victories and 16 finishes — another record for “Cowboy” — while Maia sits at No. 2 with 22 Octagon wins. Barring another victory for Cerrone, the Brazilian would be interested in getting a chance to walk away from the sport after breaking that record.
“Maybe become the fighter with most wins,” Maia said of what would motivate him to ink a new deal with the UFC. “I’m one win behind Cerrone, so I know that I’ll tie him if I win one more, but if I win two I can surpass him. That would be something that makes me think about this possibility.”
Cerrone is currently targeted to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 249 on May 9. It will be his first appearance since getting knocked out by Conor McGregor in just 40 seconds in January. “Cowboy” lost three in a row since June 2019, a skid that includes stoppages to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.