Demian Maia hasn’t announced that his next bout will be the last of fifteen plus year career. But, following UFC Minneapolis, the renowned, jiu-jitsu player also said that 2019 could mark his final year of competing.
Maia faced Rocco Martin on Saturday night, and once again, his takedowns and top game ruled the day. The longtime, welterweight contender emerged with a majority decision win and in doing so, Maia moved his overall record to 27-9.
The bout was also the second last of Maia’s current, UFC contract, so, while discussing his future after the victory, the 41-year-old reported this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Maybe (his next fight) will be the last one – I hope to do that in Sao Paulo in November,” Maia said. “Diego Sanchez is asking to fight, so it would be a good fight, two veterans.”
“After that, maybe I do a couple more. But for sure, this year or next year, I’ll stop and retire.”
“…I feel pretty well, and I feel that in training. That’s why I keep going, because I love what I do. If I start to feel my body, then I will stop. Because I feel so well, I keep going. But I have other projects that I want to do, and that’s the only thing that makes me think about stopping…”
So, it will be interesting to see what Maia decides to do here. If he loses his next bout, might that prompt him to retire? If he wins, will Maia entertain offers from other organizations like Bellator?
In terms of a bout with Sanchez, it sounds like a plan no? Although, Sanchez is currently booked to fight Michael Chiesa at UFC 239, July 6th.
One thing is certain, however, although a lot of fans aren’t down with Maia’s grappling centric approach, no one can deny he’s had a remarkable career. Case in point, since 2014, Maia’s gone 9-3, and his losses came against former or current champs in Colby Covington (interim champ), Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman. Maia’s remained a top contender at 170 for over a decade, and prior to that, he was an elite middleweight for years as well. Few people on this planet can say that.