Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Demian Maia is looking to prove he's the next big thing at 170 pounds, literally, by disposing of Jon Fitch at UFC 156 on Feb. 2, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It's time to separate the men from the boys. Or in this case, the contenders from the pretenders.
Despite working his way to the top of the middleweight mountain, world-renowned submission specialist Demian Maia was unable to dethrone Anderson Silva when he earned his crack at the crown in April 2010.
But you know the old saying: If at first you don't succeed, drop a weight class and try again.
Since his move to welterweight, Maia (17-4) has secured two first round finishes. While the bizarre ending in his fight against Dong Hyun Kim last July left a lot of people scratching their heads, he obliterated Rick Story in his sophomore effort, leaving little doubt that he was for real.
And that's just fine with perennial 170-pound contender Jon Fitch, fresh off a "Rio" drubbing of Erick Silva, who firmly believes he comes out on top when they hook 'em up at the UFC 156 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Feb. 2, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"It will be an interesting matchup. I haven't created too much of a game plan but I think I'll overwhelm him with everything that I bring to the table. He's really a monster at 170. I was surprised at how big he was down in Rio [at UFC 153]. I think as far as depth, 170 has always been the best weight class."
Fitch (24-4-1) knows a thing or two about opportunities lost.
The former collegiate wrestling standout went toe-to-toe with reigning UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87 way back in August 2008, but came up on the losing end of a lopsided unanimous decision after five rounds of action.
And he fights Maia just three weeks in front of his 35th birthday.
The Brazilian is also 35 and this looks like the last hurrah for both competitors as it pertains to division title shots. With so much at stake over the Super Bowl weekend, this could be make or break for either man's career.
Who ya' got?