Demian Maia v Khamzat Chimaev is the fight that UFC fans had no idea they wanted until right now and according to Dana White, the UFC is in talks to get it booked for Fight Island. The news first started to circulate on Twitter before MMA Fighting were able to confirm it with the UFC boss himself. It’s unusual that grappling fans would be getting so excited about Demian Maia fighting someone who was only just awarded his BJJ blue belt, but Chimaev has proven himself to be leagues above unranked UFC fighters already with two quick victories in his first two fights.
Dana White says they’re looking to book Demian Maia vs. Khamzat Chimaev on Fight Island
— José Youngs (@JoseYoungs) September 4, 2020
Of course, what drew fan’s attention to Chimaev in the first place wasn’t just his demolition of John Phillips and Rhys McKee, but the fact that the two fights took place only ten days apart. It seems that this wasn’t just a freak occurrence either as White confirmed that Chimaev should be getting a fight at the UFC Apex relatively soon, even though the fight against Demian Maia wouldn’t be that far away either.
Dana White – “We’re working on fight for him here [in Las Vegas], that’s still being worked. But we’re talking about him and Demian Maia on Fight Island.”
Realistically, Demian Maia v Khamzat Chimaev represents a huge test for both men. Chimaev will be getting his first high-calibre opponent in the seventh-ranked Maia and he won’t have anywhere near the advantage on the ground that he had in his first UFC fights, he may even want to avoid grappling the elite BJJ black belt altogether. Maia on the other hand is firmly in the twilight of his career at the age of 42 and his place in the UFC’s Welterweight division is still pretty uncertain. It was only 3 years ago that he was challenging Tyron Woodley for the title, the start of a 3-fight skid all against the very best fighters in the division.
Maia rebounded quickly with 2 wins against lower-tier opposition before putting Ben Askren to sleep in what would be his retirement fight. After getting knocked out by Gilbert Burns in his last fight, it suggests that Maia won’t be able to keep up with the very best the Welterweight division has to offer anymore, but will he be able to keep himself above the young and hungry fighters coming up?