The UFC is in the process of finalizing a welterweight matchup for their June PPV featuring two top fifteen welterweights. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the promotion was finalizing a matchup between Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) and Demian Maia (28-10).
The matchup will take place on June 12th at UFC 263. For Belal Muhammad, this fight is going to be his chance to get back on track after the freak accident that happened in his last fight.
Muhammad had the opportunity of his career when he stepped in at UFC Vegas 21 to take on Leon Edwards. Edwards was the third ranked contender in the division. If Muhammad could have won, he would have vaulted into title contention.
However, in the second round, Muhammad was poked in the eye and couldn’t continue. The fight was ruled a No Contest. Immediately, Muhammad campaigned for a rematch, but the UFC booked Edwards against Nate Diaz.
Prior to the No Contest, Muhammad had gone 8-2 in his previous ten fights. He wanted a top ten opponent and the UFC is rewarding him for his efforts and making it up to him after what happened a few weeks ago.
Last UFC fight for Maia?
Standing across from Muhammad is going to be Demian Maia. Maia is currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s welterweight rankings. This might be the final time that we see him compete in the octagon.
Maia last fought back in March of last year against Gilbert Burns. Had Maia won that fight, he could’ve been back in title contention. However, Burns knocked him out in the first round.
That loss snapped a three fight win streak for Maia. Maia has had an incredible career in the UFC, but he turns 44 this year and he’s said to have been seriously contemplating retirement.
The Brazilian legend has never become a UFC champion, but he’s challenged for the title at both 185 pounds and 170 pounds. Since mid-2014, Maia is 10-4 in the welterweight division. The four losses came against Burns, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, and Tyron Woodley.
In his welterweight run, Maia holds wins over Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Neil Magny, and more. This matchup at UFC 263 is a huge opportunity for Muhammad to rise up the ranks, but it’s also an opportunity for Maia to go out on top.