Most people probably couldn't tell by looking at him, but UFC lightweight Gray Maynard has been pushing through pain during a great deal of his career.
During an interview with host Ariel Helwani on Fuel TV's UFC Tonight, Maynard discussed at length the injury that eliminated him from a UFC 155 main card fight with Joe Lauzon on December 29th in Las Vegas.
Maynard cited that his knee had a medial tear and lateral tear, both further complied with additional injuries and years of scar tissue. Although he tried to push through the pain for two weeks, Maynard chose to make an early call before it got too close to UFC 155:
I had a hamstring issue and then I had the knee issue. I'm actually going to fly from here to get a scope on my knee. I'll be out for a month, so [it] left me no time to train. [I] wanted to tell [the UFC] kinda early, not "late"-late. They got a great guy in for me. That's gonna be an awesome fight.
It's been bothering me for about three years, to be honest. Then it happened again about two weeks ago, and then the hamstring and the knee. It was just—I couldn't train. At all.
Maynard speculated that he would need some time to get his knee checked out and "heal up a bit" before returning to training. By his own estimation, the lightweight title contender could be back in fighting shape by early February at the soonest.
Maynard noted that there are speculations about fights with Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez, but didn't indicate that anything was in the works just yet. Helwani pressed Maynard for a prediction on the upcoming UFC lightweight title fight between champion Ben Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz, but "The Bully" couldn't decide between them on the spot.
Maynard's last fight in the Octagon resulted in a critically-panned bout against Clay Guida, who was criticized for avoiding exchanges with his heavy-handed opponent.
Maynard would win a close split-decision nonetheless, snapping a two-fight winless streak from failed bids at then-champion Frankie Edgar's lightweight title.
Despite a 1-1-1 record in his last three fights, Maynard is still considered by many publications to be one of the top five lightweights on the UFC roster.
Prior to challenging Edgar for the UFC Lightweight Championship, "The Bully" racked up an impressive undefeated streak (10 wins and one no contest) against high-profile opponents. After losing a semifinal exhibition match against Nate Diaz in Season Five of The Ultimate Fighter, Maynard rebounded with victories over the likes of Kenny Florian, Jim Miller and Roger Huerta.
Notably, Maynard is one of only two men to have defeated Edgar (the other being current champion Henderson). He also defeated Nate Diaz in a January 2010 rematch during a UFC Fight Night event.
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