Demian Maia, a seasoned veteran, is undecided about whether his forthcoming fight at UFC 263 will be his final fight. In a fascinating generational duel against a rising Belal Muhammad, the Brazilian believes there is still enough stamina for one more outing.
Demian said in an interview with Combate that if everything goes well against Belal, there’s no reason not to try again. Despite the fact that he knows retirement isn’t far away, Maia wants to put himself up against the best while he’s still healthy and competitive.
“To be honest, I’m trying my best not to think about that (retirement), so it doesn’t carry over to the fight. That can disrupt my performance. I do have two plans on my mind, though. One is to do this fight, that’s the main thing. I might retire or not after this fight. If I do well, and mostly if I feel well, I’d like to have one more fight after this, to retire. It’s either going to be this one or the one after. It won’t go past that.”
Demian knows he’ll have his work cut out for him against Belal Muhammad, who had a four-bout winning streak before his fight with Leon Edwards ended in a no contest. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, on the other hand, believes he can take the battle to the ground and add another submission to his resume.
“He’s a good striker, although he comes from wrestling, he fights like a striker,” Maia said. “He does take some opponents down, which I don’t think will be my case. I think he’ll try to strike with me. He’s well-rounded, tough, has a good gas tank. He comes at you and tries to win with his volume. It’s no easy fight. He switches stances a lot, so he’s pretty well-rounded on the feet, with a good wrestling background.”
Demian (28-10) was TKO’d by Gilbert Burns in his last fight, back in March 2020. The loss ended the 43-year-three-fight old’s winning streak, which included triumphs over Lyman Good, Anthony Rocco Martin, and Ben Askren.
“There are two ways (the fight can go),” Demian continued. “One is me being able to impose my gameplan. The other one is him defending it and not letting me grab him. Then he’ll impose his gameplan on the feet, which will make it hard for me to maintain my rhythm, I hope I can submit him. Preferably as soon as possible and without suffering any damage, and him, too. I hope I can win in the best way possible. I’ll always look for the submission.”
Now, Maia is set to face Muhammad at UFC 263, which will take place on June 12 in Glendale, Arizona. The main event is a middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya, the champion, and Marvin Vettori, the challenger.