Following a particularly brutal submission win over Rick Story at UFC 153, Maia is looking to further raise his stock at welterweight by knocking off more Top 10 fighters in the division.
During an interview with TATAME Magazine (via MiddleEasy), Maia made it very clear which two opponents would most likely skyrocket him to a title fight. Although he acknowledges that both Diaz and Fitch represent unique struggles, Maia makes the case that he's ready (via Google Translate):
Dude, I think Nick Diaz and Jon Fitch that opponents would surely have much name this division and I would climb fast. The others, I think they are marked with struggles, but these two guys are certainly very tough and they would have proved much I climb in the division.
I think the two have much jiu-jitsu. Both with Nick as with Fitch. Both are good with that, just that I feel more focused on the Fitch's wrestling than with his jiu-jitsu, and Nick is a guy more with boxing than jiu-jitsu.
Maia has notched a 2-0 record in the UFC since moving down to welterweight, following a 9-4 run at middleweight that saw him defeat the likes of Chael Sonnen, Dan Miller, and Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago.
Maia finished off Rick Story with a hard neck crank at UFC 153, drawing blood from Story before getting a first round stoppage. Prior to that, Maia defeated Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148 when the Korean fighter injured his ribs defending a trip takedown.