Demian Maia and Michael Bisping weren’t exactly going to be fighting for a title shot, but their scheduled UFC on FOX 2 battle was expected to significantly boost the victor’s standing in the rankings.
Unfortunately for Maia, Mark Muñoz was forced out of a planned tilt against Chael Sonnen one bout up the card and Bisping got the call to step up and take on the gangster from West Linn. Maia wasn’t left completely up the creek though, as rising prospect Chris Weidman accepted to step up and face him on just a week’s notice. Though the Brazilian submissions ace is disappointed he won’t be participating in a more high stakes match-up, he’s thankful to have kept his spot on the card at all.
“I was disappointed to hear my fight with Bisping was off, but am happy to still be on the card on FOX,” said Maia. “I’m ready to turn a negative into a positive, to control the part I can control, which is winning. A win over Bisping would have put me back in the world title picture, but Weidman is a dangerous young fighter and he knows a win over me put him in a great position.”
Though Bisping, who inherits Muñoz’s title shot should he defeat Sonnen, ended up far better off in the switch, Maia holds no ill-will toward the Brit, his only focus now on keeping a hungry Chris Weidman from making his name by taking him out.
“Bisping actually apologized to me for taking the Sonnen fight, but I completely understand. I appreciated him saying that, but this is what we do and the sport we are in. Now I can’t think about Bisping. I have to think about Chris Weidman,” he said. “I don’t know if it is possible for Weidman to be one hundred percent fit after taking the fight at such short notice. I’m not sure, but I have to go in thinking with the mindset that he is one hundred percent.”
Regardless of Weidman’s level of fitness and experience heading into this fight, Maia recognizes him as a dangerous fighter and expects to have to work for his victory this weekend.
“He is very dangerous, and I guess that I would rather fight him now than after he gets even better and more experienced,” he said. “For sure, he will be very motivated. I am not going to lose at this stage though; I have worked too hard and expect a submission after a tough fight.”
UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis goes down this Saturday night from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and will feature a light heavyweight battle between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. FightLine will be back on the night with live, ongoing coverage of the event.