Demian Maia has revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting that he only wants one more fight in the UFC, but will likely return to BJJ competition after it. Of course, the idea that he would return to professional Jiu-Jitsu competition is nothing new, but he was originally considering retirement from MMA after his last fight with Belal Muhammad. He lost that fight by decision to mark his second loss in a row and Dana White was pretty convinced that it would mark the end of Maia’s career shortly after. Maia believes that White might change his mind however:
“It has happened other times, we’ve all seen it before, the company changing their stance and plans. It depends a lot on what happens in the market.”
“I’ve fought my entire life in the UFC. That’s my home. I want to do one last fight there, and I think it depends on what happens in Brazil. That’s a feeling my manager and I have. If they are having shows with fans here soon, I think that will draw interest from the UFC to have me fighting. I’m waiting and seeing what happens, but I do want to fight one last fight. I’m still training twice a day.”
Demian Maia isn’t completely lost without his UFC career of course, as he has a number of other ventures to focus on when he retires like his own BJJ school and a book he’s been writing. He explained that even with other paths to follow, a retirement from MMA doesn’t mean he would be retiring from combat sports altogether:
“Besides all that, I’m getting a lot of offers to compete in jiu-jitsu. No gi, or with the gi eventually as well. That’s something I really want to do soon. That’s something I’ll probably do besides fighting MMA.”
“Chael (Sonnen) has a promotion in the United States, Submission Underground, and he talked to me about the possibility of facing someone there. I think it would be cool to face someone from MMA (in BJJ) because of the (attention) that name would bring.
“If I face someone from the new generation of jiu-jitsu, he might have a name in jiu-jitsu but that’s a niche thing. If I get an MMA guy… Let me give you an example: Sonnen texted me after my last fight asking if I was interested in facing Tony Ferguson or Kamaru Usman. That’s the type of match that would not only appeal to the jiu-jitsu community but also MMA and everyone that likes fights in any way.”
He was also asked about what would happen if White sticks to his guns and doesn’t offer Maia another fight. That would effectively make him a free agent and given his name-value, would likely lead to other MMA promotions offering him fights instead, but would he go elsewhere for his retirement fight?
“That’s hard to say… Actually, no, my initial answer would be no. I don’t want to fight in some place else, I want to be in the UFC, but I do have a big dream of fighting MMA in Japan. But I haven’t thought about it. If there was a huge promotion like in the PRIDE days, sometimes I think about it. But the first plan, if you ask me, is to do my last fight in the UFC.”