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Dana White: Demian Maia has fought ‘his last fight’ for the UFC

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The MMA world may have seen Demian Maia make his last walk to the octagon.

At UFC 263 on Saturday, the two-time UFC title challenger lost a unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad in a welterweight bout that served as the last fight on Maia’s current contract. In the lead-up to the fight, much of the talk revolved around whether Maia, 43, would continue to compete past this weekend, win or lose.

UFC President Dana White was asked for his take on the situation at the evening’s post-fight press conference and he answered that he does not expect Maia to fight again, at least not for his promotion.

“I think that was his last fight,” White said. “It was the last fight on his deal. He’s [43 years old]. He’s been so good at getting in there, securing the takedown, getting on top of people and just strangling them or grabbing something and twisting it until you quit, and he couldn’t get it done tonight. He’s [43 years old], he’s a great guy, he’s had a great career, and yes, I would say that’s probably it.”

Against Muhammad, Maia struggled to impose his will on his younger opponent and implement the legendary ground game that has secured him 22 UFC victories and countless memorable submissions. It was the second straight setback for Maia, who was coming off of a first-round TKO loss to Gilbert Burns in March of last year.

Prior to that loss, he’d secured three straight wins over Ben Askren, Anthony Rocco Martin, and Lyman Good. Maia’s bout with Askren at a UFC event in Singapore in October 2019 won Maia his second UFC Fight of the Night award.

MMA Fighting spoke to Maia ahead of Saturday’s fight and he talked about the legacy he would like to leave in martial arts.

“The man that went in there and represented jiu-jitsu,” Maia said of how he wants to be remembered. “Everything I train, boxing, everything is about moving to understand how to use my jiu-jitsu in there. And [be remembered] as a man that believed in certain principals and didn’t change with the flow. I have to behave a certain way as a fighter.

“Back when I was on my winning streak, I remember everybody saying, ‘You have to talk a bunch of crap, you have to do this and do that, or you’ll never fight for the title.’ And I thought to myself, if I changed things because it’s convenient, I think I’d regret that. You can change what you believe when it goes according to your personal evolution, not because it’s convenient. You can’t have varying principles. That’s something I would have regretted a lot, as a man, if I had done it.”

Maia’s pro record fell to 28-11 after Saturday’s loss. He holds notable wins over Askren, Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Neil Magny, Jon Fitch, and Chael Sonnen, and previously competed for the UFC’s middleweight and welterweight titles.