For the second time in his career, Demian Maia will get the opportunity to win Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) gold when he faces off against current Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the co-main event of UFC 214 on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California.
In his first bid to win a world title, Maia came up short against former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 112 back in 2010. But, Maia admits he put too much pressure on himself beforehand, seeing as how that title fight was the biggest of his career to date.
This time around, however, the submission specialist is avoiding that at all costs, as he says he’s viewing his fight against “The Chosen One” as just another regular day at the office
“It’s about awareness and be conscious that it’s just another fight and not see it as the biggest fight of my life. I really need to believe that,” he said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“When I fought Anderson (Silva), I was like, ‘This is the biggest fight of my life, and this is going to happen.’ You’re dreaming too much about the future, the tomorrow. Fighting Tyron I need to know that it doesn’t matter what happens after this. I am living in this fight, just another fight and I feeling that, not just saying it. It’s important. I am a much better wrestler, striker and I am much better in control of my feelings. I am much better overall.”
Of course, Maia’s MMA knowledge has grown over the past seven years and he says he will be more equipped to handle the pressures that come with a big title fight.
And he isn’t concerned one bit that his upcoming championship bout could be his last should he not be able to secure gold, an outcome some have predicted.
“The things that I learned with my time is that you don’t put this kind of pressure, it’s unreal pressure. Like, it doesn’t matter if it’s the last chance or not,” he added. “It’s just another fight. I could've fought Tyron a couple of years ago, and now I am fighting him for the title. In my mind, it’s just another fight. I need to go in there and win against a really tough opponent. If I put that in my mind that I got to win it will be pressure that can put me of track.”
At 39 years of age, however, it’s safe to say that the window of opportunity to capture UFC gold is getting smaller and smaller by the minute for Demian, whether he admits it or not.
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