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Free agent Maia ‘not officially retired,’ wants final fight in the UFC

Free agent Maia ‘not officially retired,’ wants final fight in the UFC

Free agent Maia ‘not officially retired,’ wants final fight in the UFC
Demian Maia ahead of his fight against Belal Muhammad at UFC 263.
Demian Maia ahead of his fight against Belal Muhammad at UFC 263. | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Maia would sign a new contract with the UFC if it meant being able to retire from mixed martial arts with the promotion. 

Demian Maia is not done fighting yet.

After completing his contract with the UFC, Maia is a free agent following his unanimous decision loss to Belal Muhammad at UFC 263 this past June. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace is still competing in grappling, but wants one more fight in mixed martial arts before retiring. He has one condition, though.

In a recent interview with Luke Thomas of Morning Kombat, Maia explained that he would only fight for the UFC to complete his nearly 20-year professional career.

“No, I’m not officially retired,” said Maia. “I want to do one more fight in the UFC but I don’t want to fight in any other event because UFC is my house. It has been my house for the last 15 years. If I get another chance, I will do one more fight there, but I am pretty much more focused on the other parts of my career. I’m still training some MMA. I’m still doing boxing and Thai boxing with takedowns. These kinds of things. I want to keep these sharp if I need to do one more fight.

“At the same time, I’ve focused a lot on jiu-jitsu again, sport jiu-jitsu, because I want to compete more under these kinds of rules,” continued Maia. “One thing is that I feel pretty healthy. I feel pretty well in terms of conditioning. So I said why not give me a couple more years fighting in jiu-jitsu or MMA and then retire.”

Maia signed with UFC in 2007 and found success at welterweight and middleweight during his tenure. The veteran fought for championship gold in both divisions, but fell short against then-champions Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva. He also won 22 fights, the fourth most in UFC history.

If given the opportunity to fight again with the UFC, Maia would take it immediately. UFC president Dana White was hesitant to offer him something after UFC 263, saying that was ‘probably it’ for him in terms of fighting for the promotion. Maia understands that it is up to White and the rest of the UFC brass, but is holding out for a potential one-fight deal just in case.

“It depends much more on the UFC than on me, but I would do one more,” said Maia. “Of course, they would like to do, for sure, a longer contract but for me, I can do a longer contract but it doesn’t matter because I would do one more fight.”

Maia returns to the mats for his next grappling match against Benson Henderson at Polaris 20 on June 25.

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Author: Kristen King
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