Demian Maia, a recent addition to the UFC welterweight division, has put together two quick and easy wins since he dropped down in July. His most recent of those two, a fairly effortless submission victory over noted 170-pound vet Rick Story, came this past weekend at UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar" in Brazil.
Maia quickly secured a takedown, advanced towards Story's back, and submitted the high-level wrestler.
Being that he took little damage in said fight, Maia has the rare opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. In a recent interview with Tatame, he showed interest in two top welterweights, Jon Fitch and Nick Diaz:
"I think Nick Diaz and Jon Fitch that opponents would surely have much name this division and I would climb fast. The others, I think they are marked with struggles, but these two guys are certainly very tough and they would have proved much I climb in the division. I think the two have much jiu-jitsu. Both with Nick as with Fitch. Both are good with that, just that I feel more focused on the Fitch's wrestling than with his jiu-jitsu, and Nick is a guy more with boxing than jiu-jitsu."
With Maia in the position of a fringe top ten fighter, it is clear that he'd like to get himself up in the rankings of the division. With both Jon and Nick being long-time top ten fighters, Maia could shake up the rankings if he were to face off with either of the two.
Fitch is coming off a huge win over hot prospect Erick Silva at UFC 153, where Maia also won his latest fight. Diaz, meanwhile, is currently serving a suspension from MMA, after testing positive for marijuana after UFC 143. He will be eligible to fight by early February 2013, which could definitely make a fair timetable for him and Maia.
A fight with either man would be interesting, and seeing how great Maia has looked recently, he'd have a fair shot against both fighters, though probably less with Diaz, who serves a tough style match-up for him.
Which would you prefer, Maniacs?