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Demian Maia confident he will become UFC Welterweight champion in 2016

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Few Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweights possess the title potential that Brazilian veteran Demian Maia does. With a 7-2 divisional record since making his 170-pound debut back in 2012, the the former Middleweight standout has a lot to help his case for a title shot sometime soon.

But, according to Maia in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour," the crafty ground specialist believes he will be champion sooner rather than later.

"Before it was too much pressure, I was just thinking, ‘I wanna win the title, I wanna win the title. If I don’t win the title I’m not gonna be happy when I finish my career’," said Maia. "But, after I lost to Rory [MacDonald], I just relaxed. I love what I do, that’s great. I make money doing what I love, let’s see what happens. Once I relaxed, things started to flow better."

The better flowing things that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is referring to are recent dominant victories over the likes of Gunnar Nelson, Neil Magny and Ryan LaFlare.

"I was always very, very focused, just thinking about the title," added Maia. "Everything I did in my life was about the title, but that’s too much pressure over me. When I relaxed more, even my performance became better. Now, it’s not like ‘I need to fight for the title, I will win’. I just relaxed, and I know I will fight for the title and I know I have a great chance to win. That’s why I want the chance, but I need to speak so I fight for the title."

Currently scheduled to fight divisional mainstay and fan favorite Matt "The Immortal" Brown at UFC 198 on May 14, 2016, Maia will have a chance to leap frog fighters who vocalize their wants a little more than the Brazilian.

"Sometimes I don’t talk too much, that’s myself, but I truly believe I can be the champion," said Maia. "I feel, I can visualize that. I’m gonna fight for the title this year, I visualize that. And I feel I can be the champion."

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