Since losing back-to-back fights to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald, Demian Maia hasn't exactly been given the biggest names to compete against.
While highly-talented, fighters such as Neil Magny, Gunnar Nelson, and Ryan LaFlare haven't been making headlines and dominating the rankings. That's why Maia seems to think Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was trying to use his name to build up-and-coming contenders.
A stepping stone, if you will.
After crushing UFC's alleged plans by winning four straight, Maia says he will be lobbying for a shot at the welterweight title should he get through the tough-as-nails Matt Brown at this weekend's (Sat., May 14, 2016) UFC 198 event in Curitiba, Brazil.
His words to Combate (via Bloody Elbow):
"I always want to take top 10 or top 5 guys. Always. But in my last fights, they kept giving me these rising prospects that many people thought could beat me. But I beat them all, one after the other. First it was (Ryan) LaFlare, then (Neil) Magny and then Gunnar Nelson. In those fights, I had the impression they were trying to use me as a stepping stone. I beat them all convincingly. Now I have the chance to fight Matt Brown, a really tough guy. But it doesn't matter who I fight. With my arsenal, I believe I can beat everybody in the division. That's why I want a title shot if I beat Brown."
Brown, however, will look to spoil his opponent's win streak (and title aspirations) with a victory of his own.
And given that "Immortal" has six finishes in his last six wins, he is more than capable of derailing the submission wizard's path to his first-ever welterweight title fight.
For more on the upcoming stacked UFC 198 pay-per-view (PPV) event click here.