Gray Maynard at UFC 125The UFC lightweight division has been in a bottleneck in terms of the contenders race due to several rematches and one draw that forced a lot of top fighters to wait for their chance to compete for the gold.

Gray Maynard was right in the thick of it because he was involved in a draw with Frankie Edgar last January, which led to a rematch between the two lightweights last October.

Unfortunately, Maynard came out on the wrong end of his last fight with Edgar, forcing the former Michigan State wrestler to rethink a few things in his life.

He moved from Las Vegas to California, leaving behind his former team and coaches, and began training full time with American Kickboxing Academy. He also took some serious time off to recover an ailing body that hampered him leading into the rematch with Edgar in October of last year.

Now healthy in both mind and body, Maynard is coming off of a win over Clay Guida in June and he’s once again gunning for that top spot. Maynard was just an onlooker when the lightweight title was last defended on Saturday at UFC 150, and while it wasn’t advantageous to his own career for Frankie Edgar to recapture the belt, he still believed that Edgar should have gotten the nod.

“I thought Edgar pulled it out, but whenever, it’s a close one; the judges, it’s all up to them I guess,” Maynard told MMAWeekly Radio. “He pulled out a couple close ones against B.J. (Penn) and me and then he had this one; it was close, so it could go either way I guess.”

Maynard lost his last fight with Edgar in 2011 and he knew as long as the New Jersey native held onto the belt, he probably wouldn’t get another shot at the gold for quite some time, if ever. Now with the belt in Benson Henderson’s hands, the doors are once again open to a title run for Gray Maynard.

Maynard has never faced Henderson, but he does have history with the champ’s next opponent, Nate Diaz. During season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, Diaz submitted Maynard to advance to the finals of the reality show. Maynard got his revenge at a UFC Fight Night in 2010 when he beat Diaz by split decision.

“It opens up things for me. It opens up things for (Anthony) Pettis because he beat Benson. If Nate beats him, that opens it up for me more because there’s a trilogy. He beat me once and I beat him, so we could do the third fight. There’s a lot of options,” Maynard stated.

Maynard makes no bones about wanting the winner in the fight between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz, but he believes that a trilogy could be in his future after UFC on Fox 5 finishes on Dec. 8.

“Nate’s on a roll; I think he’ll pull it out,” Maynard said about the fight between Henderson and Diaz. “If he does, I know he was begging for me for a long time, but for me I was looking at the title and that’s a fight that would be a great fight for the title. I’d like to do the TV show against him if that’s the case.”

The TV show is The Ultimate Fighter, which kicks off season 16 in September with coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin. If Diaz is successful in defeating Henderson, Maynard hopes to land the season 17 slot and settle the rubber match with the man who originally eliminated him from the show more than five years ago.

If The Ultimate Fighter happens for Maynard, it would likely mean him sitting out for the better part of eight to 10 months with filming and waiting to fight, but right now, he’s only interested in the biggest fights possible against the best opponents.

It doesn’t get much bigger or better than fighting for the UFC lightweight title.

“For me as of now, it’s about going up against the top guys. Like I don’t care about paydays, and stuff like that. Right now it’s about beating the top guys and getting the belt,” said Maynard.

“I did a lot of work all the way till now and I’m at the top. I need that belt, and I switched up a lot of stuff to do that. I changed gyms, did everything I could, so when the opportunity happens I’ll be prepared for it.”

If Maynard doesn’t land the shot against the winner of Henderson vs. Diaz, there is still one long-standing grudge he would love to settle. He believes there is still unfinished business with Frankie Edgar, and that would be another opportunity to coach on the reality show and then put their rivalry to bed.

“I would love that fight still. He’s a tough kid; there’s a TV show in that. That’s No. 4 and that doesn’t happen very often, and it’s been back and forth. He pulled out the last bout that we had, it happens, but that’s a good story as well,” Maynard said.

“That fight interests me; I want that to be done. The belt of course is my goal. It’s a good spot to be in. That’s all I care about: top guys, good fights.”

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more UFC news, rumors and results.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

The MMA Hour - 289 - Jorge Masvidal

  • 24 days ago
  • 0 views

Jorge Masvidal talks about his UFC welterweight debut against Cezar Ferreira at TUF 21 Finale this weekend. read news >>

TUF 21 Finale: 3 Things to Look for in Michelle Waterson's UFC Debut

  • 24 days ago
  • 77 views

Michelle Waterson, former Invicta FC atomweight champion, joined the UFC earlier this year and will make her in-cage debut on July 12th against Angela Magana. It was a significant signing for the gro read news >>

The MMA Hour - 289 - Dan Lambert

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

ATT co-founder & owner Dan Lambert talks about his involvement on TUF 21 and Robbie Lawler's title defense at UFC 189. read news >>

UFC 189: Early Predictions for Mendes vs. McGregor Main Event

  • 25 days ago
  • 111 views

UFC 189's main event of Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor isn't the featherweight title fight fans thought they'd be seeing, but it's one of the best consolation prizes the organization could have offer read news >>

Macdonald Is Ready To Reign Over Welterweight Division

  • 26 days ago
  • 0 views

Rory MacDonald is ready to win the title and become the champion he's been groomed to be. read news >>

George Sullivan faces newcomer Dominic Waters at TUF 21 Finale

  • 26 days ago
  • 13 views

With Marcio Alexandre Jr. out of the TUF 21 Finale, George Sullivan now meets UFC newcomer Dominic Waters.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'TUF 19' middleweight finalist Dhiego Lima announces release from UFC roster

  • 26 days ago
  • 14 views

With three losses in his four official UFC fights, Dhiego Lima says he has been released from the UFC.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Marcio Alexandre Jr. out with rib injury, George Sullivan now meets Dominic Waters at TUF 21 Finale

  • 26 days ago
  • 0 views

George Sullivan has a new opponent for his upcoming UFC bout. With Marcio Alexandre Jr. out of the TUF 21 Finale card with an injury, Sullivan now faces promotional newcomer Dominic Waters. The match read news >>

Miesha Tate: Win over Jessica Eye is 'final step' toward Ronda Rousey trilogy fight

  • 27 days ago
  • 39 views

The No. 2-ranked UFC women's Bantamweight says a win over Jessica Eye at UFC on FOX 16 should punch her ticket to a trilogy fight against current champion and long-time rival, Ronda Rousey. NEW YORK read news >>

Fans invited to this week's TUF 21 Finale, Invicta FC 13 media events

  • 27 days ago
  • 3 views

In addition to a slate of UFC 189 fight-week activities, fans are invited to some pre-fight events for Invicta FC 13 and The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale this week.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>