(Grudge? What Grudge?)
In a new interview with TATAME, Demian Maia takes the high road in discussing his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 112 in April, saying that he would prefer to talk about the future and not dwell on the past, no matter how douchebag-like Silva acted during their bout.
He did say that he truly believes that Chael Sonnen has a legitimate chance at beating the usually dominant champion and that he feels the only way to stop the Team Quest fighter from controlling the fight would be for Anderson to dedicate a large portion of his training to both his defensive and offensive jiu-jitsu games.
"I sure do [think Chael can beat Anderson]. He has a really tough game and it’s hard for anyone to beat him. He has a good takedown, has a good ground game, he’s very big and strong in comparison with the other athletes of the division. It’s a hard fight for everyone because he brings you down and is a hell of a hitter. You have to have a great guard to fight him, otherwise it becomes very hard fight for you. Let’s see what will happen."
As far as his own MMA career goes, Maia said it may be a bit premature to estimate how many quality wins he would need to get under his belt before he gets a shot at whoever is the champion if and when the time comes, he confirmed that his next opponent, would, as reported, likely be Alan Belcher.
"It seems [the fight with Belcher] will happen; that’s what I heard. I haven’t signed anything yet, but I believe he will be my opponent. I’ve seen him fighting. Once he fought in the same card as I did, I saw his last fight against (Patrick) Cote, he certainly is a tough guy, one of the tops of the division. For me, it’s an excellent thing to come back with a guy from his level. I’ll first focus on beating him, there’re lots of things to think about and it’s early to think about [another shot at the title], but it’s what everyone wants, so let’s wait for this fight and then we’ll see what will happen."
Since Belcher has been mentioned by UFC president Dana White as being a potential title contender in the near future, a win over him could propel Maia back into the middle of the growing queue of middleweights who are fighting for a shot at the belt currently held by Silva.
If Sonnen does beat Silva, Maia will likely feel more confident in his chances of one day wearing UFC gold should possibly face the Oregon native for the title, considering he handily defeated him by a triangle choke in less than three minutes the first time the two met.