5 Opponents Who Could Welcome Demian Maia to the UFC Welterweight Division

Craig AmosFeatured Columnist IVMarch 31, 2017

5 Opponents Who Could Welcome Demian Maia to the UFC Welterweight Division

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    Earlier today, Demian Maia tweeted the following:

    Guys, now I ll moving down to 170 pounds. Next fight I ll be a welterw[ei]ght 

    Maia has struggled recently, posting a 4-4 record over his last eight middleweight contests. The drop to welterweight should mitigate the size disadvantage he has faced against some larger opponents in the past, such as Anderson Silva and Mark Munoz.

    Demian Maia's drop to welterweight creates a handful of intriguing matchup possibilities for the Brazilian native. The following are five of the most intriguing. 

Jake Shields

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    Widely regarded as the strongest jiu-jitsu practitioner in the welterweight division, Jake Shields would present an interesting opponent for Demian Maia in his divisional debut.

    The fight would have the potential to feature high-level grappling and would determine who is identified as the division's unofficial jiu-jitsu ace.

B.J. Penn

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    As with Shields, a fight against Penn may feature some very intriguing grappling. The difference here is that Penn is a tremendous boxer, whereas Shields is a minimal threat on the feet.

    This tussle would give fans a good sense of where Maia's striking, takedown offense and grappling will fit in at 170 pounds.

Charlie Brenneman

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    Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman has been vocal about wanting to finish fights. Thus far, he has exhibited sensational ground control during his UFC tenure, but has done little to wow fans.

    A fight against Maia would test exactly how strong his control is. Additionally, it may force The Spaniard to fight outside his comfort zone.

    Control Maia on the ground, or put that stand-up to work. Either way, this fight would reveal a lot about what Charlie Brenneman can or cannot do.

Martin Kampmann

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    Indications are that if Carlos Condit defends his interim UFC welterweight title, he will probably do so against Jake Ellenberger.

    With a recent victory of Thiago Alves, Kampmann stands as third in line. A fight against Demian Maia would be an intriguing eliminator to determine who faces the winner of Condit/Ellenberger-St-Pierre once the sidelined champion has made his return to action.

Brian Ebersole

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    Ebersole has made an unlikely rise through the UFC's welterweight division, but has not faced off against anyone considered a top contender.

    Enter Demian Maia.

    A bout between these two would almost certainly be an entertaining match that features action both on the mat and the feet.

    Maia may want to begin his time in the welterweight division at a higher rung on the ladder, but a fight against the upstart Ebersole would be a good benchmark to get things underway.