The clash of styles in the match up between Demian Maia and Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal last month at UFC 211 was entertaining, but more importantly it carried high stakes as the winner was viewed as the #1 contender to Tyron Woodley’s UFC welterweight title later in the year. Woodley was adamant on beginning a training camp with the intention of being included in the stacked UFC 214 card next month. The problem lies within Maia’s ability to prepare himself for such a quick turnaround considering the fact he took some significant damage via the hands of “Gamebred” despite controlling most of the fight on the ground.
Maia was given the okay personally by Dana White immediately following the decision win and he’s certainly come a long way. Currently on a seven fight winning streak, Maia appears to be the best version of himself at the age of 39 and in a weight class he spent the last five years of his career at. Originally a middleweight, Masvidal made the drop in hope to secure a career resurgence and although it seems like he’s finally earned a title shot that has been five years in the making, Maia might be forced to turn down the title shot should the UFC oblige with Woodley’s plan.
Maia told a Brazilian media outlet that he’d like to fight in October. He also recently shut down rumors via Twitter of being unavailable to fight Woodley due to injury, but with UFC 214 a month away, it looks like either the UFC will uncharacteristically give someone else the title shot in a non-dire scenario or simply book the showdown for a later date. The latter seems more likely, but it’d be interesting nonetheless to see if the UFC includes Woodley’s next title defense at UFC 214 just because he says so. After all, the UFC or particularly Dana White probably doesn’t believe he should do Woodley a solid after his last two performances against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. It’s fair to say Woodley is not a priority in such short notice and would better serve as a headliner for a later event.
Despite winning his title at UFC 201, a card that had a tough time following UFC 200 from a notoriety perspective, Woodley was fortunate enough to be included in the UFC’s inaugural event at Madison Square Garden at UFC 205 as well as the UFC 209 card, which didn’t fare so well after Nurmagomedov-Ferguson was cancelled. It’s clear Woodley wants on the big cards and it doesn’t get any bigger than International Fight Week, but unless he’s fighting a Nick Diaz or Georges St Pierre it’s unlikely we’ll see him on the highly anticipated card that will be headlined by Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones with expectations of Cris Cyborg fighting Megan Anderson for perhaps the UFC Women’s featherweight title or perhaps the Invicta featherweight title.
Masvidal’s leg kicks against Maia were brutal and it appeared to take a toll on Maia’s wheels not to mention the multiple head kicks he ate for his trouble. Masvidal appears more fresh than Maia and even stated that should Maia not be ready in time for UFC 214 that he had no problem stepping in. Even more intriguing was Masvidal’s claim that Dana White told Masvidal he believed he did enough to earn the win over Maia. An argument can be made that the bout between both welterweight contenders should have taken place in a five round fight considering the ramifications of the results. Funny enough, the headliners were Miocic and Junior dos Santos, which only lasted a couple of minutes in a scheduled five round bout.
With time running out to announce the complete official UFC 214 card, the UFC doesn’t appear to be done in stacking the card especially since they were burned by a flagged USADA drug sample at UFC 200 along with other mishaps Jon Jones brought upon himself. Things are currently up in the air, but now that the Mayweather-McGregor freak show bout is official for August 26th, Dana White and company can now focus on the meat of the MMA matter.