Demian Maia and Jimmie Rivera no longer with the UFC

It appears that two long-time UFC veterans are officially no longer with the promotion. John Morgan of MMA Junkie confirmed today with promotional officials that Demian Maia (28-11) and Jimmie Rivera (23-5) are no longer with the promotion.

Per Morgan, both guys fought out their UFC contracts and the promotion is not bringing them back. For Jimmie Rivera, this is a little bit of a puzzling development. Rivera was ranked 13th in the UFC‘s bantamweight division.

His last fight with the promotion came back in February when he took on Pedro Munhoz. The fight was a rematch from a few years ago when Rivera got the better of Munhoz. This time around, Munhoz was able to pick up the victory.

That loss dropped Rivera to just 2-4 in his last six UFC appearances. Back in 2017, Rivera looked like a guy who could become a future champion. Overall, he was 22-1 and he had been perfect with the promotion.

However, that’s when he ran into Marlon Moraes he knocked him out in just over 30 seconds. From there, he would go 2-3 in his next five fights. Granted, his losses were to Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, and Munhoz.

So, two of his losses were to the last two guys to hold the UFC bantamweight title. Letting Rivera go was likely a decision based on pay and deciding whether or not he could become a champion. Obviously, the promotion didn’t see Rivera climbing the latter so they let him go.

Maia’s UFC Run Officially Over

Demian Maia made his debut with the promotion all the way back in 2007 at UFC 77. Maia scored a win and began his career at 5-0 with the promotion which included a submission win over Chael Sonnen.

During Maia’s run with the UFC, the jiu jitsu legend made his way to a title shot twice in two different weight classes. Maia fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title and fought Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title.

While Maia came up short in both attempts, he’s been the model of consistency in the UFC for a long time. It was known that his fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC 263 was the final fight on his contract.

Maia lost the fight which was his second straight loss. After the event, Maia was hopeful the UFC would give him one more fight, however, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to happen. No telling what’s next for Maia, but if it’s the end, we should all solute the Brazilian legend.

After knockout win at UFC Vegas 29, what’s next for Matt Brown?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 29, we saw Matt Brown (23-18) take on Dhiego Lima (15-9). It was an important fight for both men as each were looking to get back on the winning track inside the octagon.

For Matt Brown, the fight was massive and was going to say a lot about the rest of his career. At 40 years old and having lost two fights in a row, many were wondering if we were nearing the end for ‘The Immortal’ Matt Brown.

However, Brown wanted to use UFC Vegas 29 as an opportunity to shut everyone up and prove he’s still got fight left in the tank. In the second round of his fight with Dhiego Lima, Brown knocked Lima out cold with a huge right hand.

With one punch, Matt Brown completely turned the clock backwards and made a massive statement. The win was Brown’s 12 win by knockout in the UFC which tied him with Vitor Belfort and Derrick Lewis for the most in the history of the promotion.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 29?

It’s clear that Matt Brown isn’t going anywhere yet after UFC Vegas 29. That performance has him ready to go and at the post-fight press conference, Brown indicated that he’d be interested in a few rematches for his next fight.

Brown said, “Cowboy [Cerrone], Demian [Maia] and Robbie [Lawler]. Those are the ones. I’m not the guy who’s, ‘I want a rematch I want a rematch,’ I had my 15 minutes and I didn’t get it done. I thought I won the Robbie fight personally, but I didn’t get it done.”

Brown also indicated that he’s particularly interested in potentially fighting Demian Maia (28-11) next. Maia lost to Belal Muhammad a couple of weeks ago in what was the final fight of his UFC contract. However, Maia indicated that he would like one more UFC fight for his retirement fight.

On the possibility of that fight Brown said, “I’d love for it to be Demian’s retirement match, I know he’s looking for a retirement match. I would love that, and out of respect for him because he’s a true legend. Just like when I fought him the first time, he’s the worst match up for me in the division and I like that challenge. I think I’m more up for it now than I was before.”

UFC 263 Preview: Belal Muhammad – Demian Maia

Belal Muhammad, Demian Maia

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 263, we will see a showdown between two top fifteen welterweights. 12th ranked Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) returns as he takes on the MMA legend Demian Maia (28-10).

What a career it’s been for Demian Maia and UFC 263 might just be the end. At 43 years old, Maia might be gearing up to hang up the gloves. Maia made his UFC debut in just his seventh pro fight all the way back in 2007.

He’s been fighting with the promotion an astonishing 14 years and holds a UFC record of 22-10. During that stretch, Maia has challenged for both the UFC middleweight and welterweight championships.

While he’s never won a world title, Maia has proven to be the model of consistency. When he lost to Gilbert Burns last March, that snapped a three-fight win streak. Had he won that fight with Burns, he might’ve gotten another UFC title shot.

Standing across from Maia tomorrow night is Belal Muhammad. Back in March, Muhammad had a golden opportunity. On short notice, the UFC gave him a main event slot against Leon Edwards. If Muhammad won that fight, he would’ve jumped right into the title picture.

However, an accidental eye poke in the second round by Edwards ended the fight in a No Contest. That NC snapped a four-fight winning streak. Muhammad is looking to get back on the winning track tomorrow night at UFC 263.

UFC 263 Prediction

When examining this matchup at UFC 263, I can’t help but think it’s a tough one for Demian Maia. Maia is one of the best jiu jitsu practitioners the UFC has ever seen. However, we’ve seen him struggle to get fights to the ground especially against top level wrestlers.

Well, Belal Muhammad is a very good wrestler. On the feet, I think Muhammad is going to have a clear advantage. I’m expecting a ton of pressure from Muhammad and I think we are going to see even more improvement in his striking.

In his Dhiego Lima fight back in February, I was incredibly impressed with the boxing of Belal Muhammad. I don’t think Maia will get this to the mat, and I just see Muhammad winning the striking exchanges at UFC 263. Don’t think we see a finish, but I think we will see a clear win for “Remember the Name”.

Prediction: Belal Muhammad by Unanimous Decision

UFC booking Belal Muhammad – Demian Maia

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.

Who should Nick Diaz fight in his UFC return?

This past week, we heard even more confirmation surrounding the potential UFC return of Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC). Diaz has been training hard and recently completed a mock training camp to see how he felt.

His manager said last week on his podcast that the likelihood that Diaz competes next year in the UFC is, “99.99%.” So by that measurement, the odds are pretty good that we are going to see Diaz return to the octagon next year.

Right now, the current plan for Diaz is to compete at welterweight. Diaz last competed in the UFC at middleweight when he fought Anderson Silva back in 2015. However, Diaz has spent the majority of his career at 170 pounds.

He became a world champion in Strikeforce in the welterweight division and fought for the UFC welterweight title twice. Before Nate Diaz’s fights with Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz was known as the needle mover in the family.

However, that has since changed with Nate becoming a star. Yet, there’s still a huge following for Nick Diaz and MMA fans are getting excited about his potential UFC return. So, who should Nick Diaz fight when he gets back into the cage?

Who should the UFC pair Nick Diaz with?

Diaz’s managers said that they were hoping to have an opponent nailed down by the first of the year. However, nothing is close to being finalized at the moment. It’s an interesting time for the UFC and their roster.

Last night, Dana White announced that the promotion would be making some serious cuts to their roster. He said some big names could go which could impact who the promotion would offer Nick Diaz upon his return.

For now, we will look at the current UFC roster and forget about the potential cuts. One matchup I really like is the rematch with Robbie Lawler. Lawler was supposed to fight Mike Perry recently, but had to pull out due to injury.

The plan is for Lawler to fight at the beginning of the year. I think a potential matchup between the two men makes a ton of sense. If you want to jump into the top ten, I think another option could be a Demian Maia.

Imagining those two grappling is a lot of fun. However, Maia would be a very good option if the UFC wants to get Diaz a win against a serious opponent right away. Maia isn’t a pushover, but if he can’t land takedowns, Diaz would light him up on the feet.

A win over Lawler or Maia would immediately re-establish Diaz in the welterweight division. I still would love to see the matchup between Diaz and Jorge Masvidal long-term, but I don’t see the UFC doing that without Diaz getting a win first.

Stephen Thompson turns down UFC match with Khamzat Chimaev: ‘It just doesn’t make sense for me’

The UFC has been trying to book a headlining fight with their budding star Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). The promotion is wanting to have Chimaev headline a Fight Night in November once they return from this latest stint on Fight Island.

The UFC had been offering the fight to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1). However, Wonderboy didn’t seem interested and instead has spent his time calling out Leon Edwards (18-3) for a fight. Both of those men rank inside the UFC‘s top five at welterweight.

Dana White said that the UFC was close to finalizing a matchup for Chimaev that was not Demian Maia. Maia was originally supposed to fight Chimaev if Chimaev defeated Gerald Meerschaert. After Chimaev knocked out Meerschaert in 14 seconds, the promotion had other plans.

The UFC appeared to still be angling for the Wonderboy fight. However, Wonderboy has continued to turn the fight down. He elaborated more on his YouTube channel saying, “No, I’m not fighting him, man. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense for me at this point. I’m ranked No. 5 to fight a guy who is unranked?”

UFC’s booking issue

You can’t really blame Wonderboy for his train of thought. Wonderboy has been grinding for years in the UFC‘s welterweight division and he’s fought for the title twice. This would be a total stepping stone type of fight for Chimaev.

If you’re asking me, Thompson is thinking correctly. The fight to make is between Thompson and Leon Edwards. Both of those UFC welterweights need a fight, and they are both in the top five. Edwards wants a high profile fight, but most of the top contenders are booked.

The UFC then has an issue with Chimaev. I’m not sure if Maia decided to turn down the fight, but that to me was still the fight to make. Chimaev would be a massive favorite, but Maia has challenged for UFC gold multiple times in his career.

It would be a massive name and a big victory for the Russian. White said that the UFC was close to announcing something, but it wasn’t Maia. We now know it’s not Thompson either. I’m going to be really interested to see who the UFC decides to book across from Khamzat Chimaev next.

UFC: Khamzat Chimaev to headline against highly ranked opponent

The UFC‘s newest budding superstar is getting a main event slot in his next fight. This week, Dana White confirmed that Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) would be headlining a card in his next trip inside the octagon.

However, the promotion hadn’t finalized an opponent. Originally, the UFC was talking about Chimaev fighting Demian Maia after he fought Gerald Meerschaert. Chimaev demolished Meerschaert in 14 seconds last Saturday at UFC Vegas 11.

While that was the original plans, the promotion has different names in mind. Yesterday, Combate came out with a report that stated that Chimaev would be taking on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson on December 19th.

However, this fight has not been finalized per Dana White. But, the promotion has offered the fight to Thompson. Wonderboy seems more interested in fighting Leon Edwards who he recently called out per White.

Who will the UFC have fight Chimaev?

Neil Magny came out yesterday and said that he wanted to be the one that the UFC had fight Chimaev next. However, the promotion seems to be looking higher in the rankings than Magny. White said that Leon Edwards wouldn’t be an option for Chimaev.

If Wonderboy doesn’t take the fight, the UFC only has a few more options for Chimaev. They could go with Magny, but they could also pivot back to Demian Maia who’s currently ranked sixth in the division. One spot behind Thompson as of last week’s update.

Michael Chiesa could be another name that the UFC could target. However, I think Maia still makes the most sense given the fight’s headlining status. I think a fight with Maia would bring more eyes as opposed to Chiesa or Magny.

Perhaps the promotion could talk Wonderboy into the fight. Although, a fight with Wonderboy and Leon Edwards makes a ton of sense. The promotion is currently working on it, but we do not that Chimaev will headline in December, we just don’t know who it will be against yet.

Two fights to make after UFC Vegas 11

UFC, Dana White

Last night the UFC hosted it’s eleventh fight night at the APEX since kicking those off early in the summer. In the main event of the evening, Colby Covington (16-2) completely dismantled Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) over the course of five rounds.

There were so many storylines that came out of UFC Vegas 11. One of the biggest stories was the continued meteoric rise of Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). After everything that happened last night, what are the fights that the promotion should book?

Another UFC Grudge Match: Covington vs Masvidal

Last night was a huge night for Covington after he bounced back from his loss at UFC 245. Covington only had two names on his mind after the fight was over. Those two names were UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, and Jorge Masvidal (35-14).

Usman is currently booked to fight Gilbert Burns in December, but the UFC‘s BMF doesn’t have his plans finalized. The UFC has been pushing to finalize the rematch with Nate Diaz, however that could always change.

The fight that makes the most sense for the division is the fight between Masvidal and Covington. These two former friends do not like each other. The fight makes sense from a rankings and ratings perspective.

I know that the UFC has been working on the Diaz rematch, but I really think that the promotion should reconsider. A fight with Masvidal and Covington is big business and it would clearly identify the number one contender for whoever wins between Usman and Burns.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Demian Maia

There is no one hotter in the UFC right now than Khamzat Chimaev. He’s finished three opponents since July 15th, and his last two haven’t even landed a strike against him. Chimaev is operating on a different frequency than everyone else.

At UFC Vegas 11, Chimaev was supposed to face his stiffest test yet. Instead, Chimaev knocked Gerald Meerschaert out in 17 seconds. You couldn’t help but watch in awe. Everyone had to be thinking what was the promotion going to do with him next.

I think the right move would be for the promotion to continue down the path they were heading. The UFC has been looking to book Chimaev at welterweight against Demian Maia (28-10). This is the perfect next fight for Chimaev.

It would give Chimaev someone who has a big name in the sport as well as a top ten ranking. If Chimaev runs through Maia the way he’s ran through his previous three opponents, he might only be one win away from a title shot.

UFC President on Khamzat Chimaev: “I’ve never seen anyone like him”

Last night at UFC Vegas 11, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) was supposed to have his toughest test yet. He was going into the octagon against a guy in Gerald Meerschaert (31-14) that was going for the record for most submissions in the UFC middleweight division.

Meerschaert was supposed to pose some interesting challenges for the Russian prospect to overcome. However, Chimaev silenced everyone in just 17 seconds. Chimaev pushed forward and turned the lights out on Meerschaert quick.

UFC Vegas 11 reinforced the fact that Chimaev is supremely talented. Chimaev has great wrestling and he just proved that he possesses dynamite in his hands. After the fight, Dana White said that, “I’ve never seen anyone like him,” referring to Chimaev.

What does the UFC do with Chimaev?

It’s going to be fascinating to see what the UFC decides to do with Chimaev after this performance. Despite him only having three fights, it’s clear that he’s on a completely different level than the guys he’s fighting against. Chimaev is ready for the top ten.

The logical next step for the UFC would be to continue with booking the Demian Maia (28-10) as planned. Maia is a jiu jitsu world champion, and he’s been a top contender for years. He’s currently ranked 7th in the UFC‘s welterweight division.

However, he would be a massive underdog in a fight with Chimaev. There’s no chance in the world that Maia would be able to take down Chimaev, and he can’t strike with him. If Chimaev takes Maia down, I’m not sure Maia would be able to submit him through the shots he’d take.

It’s crazy to sit here and say that a legend like Demian Maia would have no chance, but I can’t see him having a chance. Khamzat Chimaev is not a normal prospect. He’s very special, and I think the UFC should turn up the competition, but be smart. Chimaev has superstar written all over him.


UFC working on two fights for Khamzat Chimaev including Demian Maia

The biggest breakout star from the UFC‘s first run on Fight Island was Khamzat Chimaev (8-0). Chimaev fought twice in ten days and completely dominated both opponents. Chimaev scored finishes in both of those fights.

Once the UFC returned to the US, Chimaev let it be known that he wanted to fight again as quickly possible. However, visa issues have caused Chimaev to sit on the sidelines. Those issues have been resolved, and according to Dana White, the UFC has two fights in the works for Chimaev.

“I think he (Chimaev) gets here Sunday or Monday. He’ll fight here and he’ll fight on Fight Island,” White said during a media scrum. When asked about potential opponents, White said, “We’re still working on a fight for him here, but we’re talking about him and Demian Maia on Fight Island.”

Building the UFC’s Next Star

This is probably the first time I’ve ever heard the UFC and Dana White planning out a contender’s future opponent without announcing his next opponent. Chimaev has become a sensation since his fights in July. Still, I’m a little shocked that White discussed the Maia fight on Fight Island. Especially considering he didn’t say who Chimaev is going to fight on September 19th.

Based on the UFC‘s assumption that he will get through the September 19th fight, I wouldn’t expect someone of significance in that matchup. It’s clear that the UFC is booking Chimaev’s next fight as a showcase fight to setup the Maia fight.

Demian Maia (28-10) would be a big step up for Chimaev. Maia is arguably the best jiu jitsu practitioner in the UFC. He’s challenged for the title a couple of times and he’s currently ranked seventh in the welterweight division.

If Chimaev smashes his next opponent then smashes Maia on Fight Island, he realistically is only going to be one or two wins away from a UFC title shot. It looks like the promotion is putting Chimaev on the fast track.