The Cesar Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt called out three of the top five competitors in his weight class at the post-fight media conference, even asking for a rematch with champion Georges St-Pierre, per MMA Mania.
I think (the win over Maia) puts me really high back up. Maia was ranked number four in the world (and was on) a four-fight win streak. I already have wins over Carlos Condit, Robbie Lawler, top contenders. So I want another shot at GSP ... Whether I have to fight Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit, any of the top contenders, I just want to fight people at the top right now.
While most pundits gave Shields no chance against Maia, a fourth-degree black belt in BJJ, the American fighter's underrated sweeps and well-documented top control made the difference in the close fight.
The 34-year-old Tennessee native, who defeated Top 10 welterweights Condit and Lawler in 2006 and 2009, respectively, is now 3-0(1) in his four bouts since losing back-to-back fights to GSP and Jake Ellenberger in 2011.
As Shields pointed out, Maia entered UFC Fight Night 29 as the No. 4 welterweight in the world.
According to the UFC's official rankings, Condit sits at No. 2, while MacDonald is right behind him at No. 3.
Given that Shields' unanimous-decision loss to St-Pierre at UFC 129 was a lackluster affair, immediately throwing him into a title bout seems next to impossible.
Condit and MacDonald are also booked, though. "The Natural Born Killer" faces off with Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 9 in December, while "Ares" takes on Lawler at UFC 167 next month.
The best-case scenario for Shields would be if Johny Hendricks upsets St-Pierre and becomes the new welterweight champ at UFC 167 on November 16.
Regardless of what happens in these pivotal welterweight bouts, it seems inevitable that Shields, a former Strikeforce middleweight champ, will crack the 170-pound division's Top 10 following his win over Maia.
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