Pretty much everybody is in agreement that South American submission savant Demian Maia deserves a shot at the UFC welterweight crown.
The Brazilian has won six in a row since a February 2014 loss to Rory MacDonald, accounting for the likes of Neil Magny, Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit along the way.
But life in the UFC isn’t always fair.
Due to the exciting nature of Tyron Woodley’s title defence against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at UFC 205 and the fact that it was declared a majority draw after five rounds, Maia was cast aside as Thompson received an immediate rematch.
After Maia beat the aforementioned Carlos Condit back in August he claimed that he was willing to sit on the sidelines until the UFC was ready to grant him a crack at the gold. However, by November, his tune had changed. It was obvious at that point, a couple of weeks after Woodley-Thompson 1, that there was a good chance a rematch would be made.
So an impatient Maia was considering other options.
Demian Maia on what's next if he doesn't get a title shot: Cerrone, catchweight with Silva, or "the UFC mentioned a fight vs. Lawler".
— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) November 18, 2016
Donald Cerrone, having lost to Jorge Masvidal on Saturday, obviously no longer makes sense for Maia and Silva is booked to compete in a middleweight bout at UFC 208 on February 11th. A fight with former champion Robbie Lawler makes some sense and is still an intriguing match-up.
However, it seems that the UFC are now thinking about somebody else for the fresh 39-year-old veteran.
During a recent appearance on UFC Unfiltered, the promotion’s president Dana White revealed that he has offered the Maia fight to Nick Diaz, who was cleared to return from his 18-month suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission in December of last year but has yet to be penciled in to compete.
“I just reached out to (Diaz’s team) and said what do you guys think about a fight with Demian Maia? I haven’t heard back from them yet,” White said(via FoxSports).
White added, that if Nick turns down this fight, as he did a recently proposed rematch with Robbie Lawler, he will give the fight to somone else.
“If Nick doesn’t take it, I’ll give it to (Jorge) Masvidal,” said White.
Aside from turning down the Lawler fight, Diaz may also have turned down a title fight with Woodley. That was according to Woodley himself, who claimed that the Stockton fighter had demanded more money.
Tyron Woodley tells me the UFC offered Nick Diaz a fight against him for UFC 209. Woodley says Diaz declined b/c Diaz wanted more money.
— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) January 12, 2017
If this is true, one has to wonder what appeal the Maia fight could hold for Diaz. The main reason anyone would want to face the tricky Brazilian at present is to push themselves closer to a title opportunity and Diaz has already turned down a shot at the strap. It seems that he is more motivated by money than championship glory and it’s hard to imagine that the UFC will offer him a greater payday to take on Maia than Woodley.
Diaz, who had been quite inactive even before his suspension, hasn’t won a fight since October 2011 when he beat B.J. Penn. A few months after that, he dropped a decision to Carlos Condit. A year on the sidelines followed, before he faced Anderson Silva. On that night, Silva was declared a decision winner, but the result was later changed to a no-contest with both men subsequently failing drug tests.
Despite his inactivity and recent run of poor form, Diaz remains one of the biggest stars in the sport and fans are eagerly awaiting his return to the cage.