Despite having lost to Nate Marquardt back at UFC 102 in Aug. 2009, Maia is put up as the next to challenge for Silva’s title.
The reasoning behind Maia’s sudden rise to title contender could be for a couple reasons. One, current No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen might have beaten Nate Marquardt for his current spot in the rankings, but has a loss to Maia in 2009. Another potential reason for the move to give Maia the title shot could be the Middle East’s love for jiu-jitsu, a craft that Maia is one of the best in the world at.
Maia was recently seen taking on middleweight striker Dan Miller at UFC 109, winning by unanimous decision. Showing improvement in his stand-up, Maia was able to trade punches with Miller and counter like boxing was his main focus when training for the fight.
It is unclear what role Maia’s medical suspension is playing in all this.
Having been suspended until Aug. 6, Maia is competing a good four months prior to when he was initially cleared to do so. Looks like Maia is either getting an early clearance or the UFC is not considering the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s jurisdiction to stretch to Abu Dhabi, UAB.
Another issue raised by the Maia announcement is the fear that Silva-Maia will be a repeat of Silva-Leites.
The lack luster fight between the middleweight champion and Leites was arguably the least popular in Silva’s UFC career. Fans worry that fighting another jiu-jitsu guy in Maia could mirror the performance previously put on by Silva and Leites.
The hope is that Maia’s striking will be as sharp, if not sharper than it was against Miller. Against the champion Silva, Maia will require all the technique in the world and has little time to collect it.