gray-maynard-ufc-on-fx-4

(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

LAS VEGAS – As UFC lightweight Gray Maynard prepares to complete the second trilogy series of his career, you might think more rematches are the last thing on his mind. But “The Bully” insists it’s quite the opposite.

Maynard is so passionate that the 155-pounder is willing to drop down a division to settle a score.

“I’ve got to take care of Nate Diaz, but the goal is obviously to get the T.J. Grant bout again, the Frankie Edgar bout, and then get the lightweight belt,” Maynard tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie. “Even if I have to drop down a division to face Edgar.”

Maynard (11-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) headlines Saturday’s UFC event, The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1), where he faces Diaz (16-9 MMA, 11-7 UFC) for the third time in six years.

The first bout was a 2007 semifinal matchup on the fifth season of “TUF.” It was an exhibition match and doesn’t show on their official record. Diaz won via second-round submission.

The rematch took place in January 2010, and Maynard earned a split-decision victory. He’s been anticipating a rubber match ever since.

“I think the UFC was planning on that for a long time, and they just had to make it where our careers are going at the same stage,” Maynard says. “You want to go out (up) 2-1. That’s the biggest thing, ending strong.”

That mentality currently fuels the career drive of a retooled Maynard, who looks to rebound from a knockout loss to Grant in May. At 34, Maynard, who previously was a bit of a training nomad, has finally settled in at California’s American Kickboxing Academy. A baby daughter has brought him some life perspective.

“Life is good,” he says. “I bought a house, and I’m doing some stuff to it. I’m training. I’ve got my baby.”

Despite the increased stability, the competitive fire still burns deep for Maynard, who despite earning a 2008 decision win against Edgar in 2011, twice fell just short of downing “The Answer” in two of the most memorable lightweight title bouts in UFC history.

Edgar has since dropped to the featherweight division, and while Maynard has long been considered one of the largest athletes in the lightweight class, he insists he’d take a fight at 145 pounds for a fourth fight with his nemesis.

“I sure as hell would try,” says Maynard, who’s 1-1-1 against Edgar. “I wouldn’t be there for good, but I would be there for that fight. It just goes back to that in my mind, it’s all even. I don’t want it to end like that.

“He got the last one, but I don’t want it to end like that. If he beats me two out of three times, then alright. But we’ll see. I’ve got to get through Nate and then keep going.”

For more on the TUF 18 Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Related News

UFC 207's Alex Garcia wants 'TUF' season between native Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

  • 23 days ago
  • 4 views

As he prepares to face veteran Mike Pyle at UFC 207, welterweight Alex Garcia still hopes to one day have a UFC event in his native Dominican Republic. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Countdown to UFC 207: Ronda Rousey's Beginnings to Amanda Nunes' Emergence | MMAWeekly.com

  • 26 days ago
  • 74 views

Go back to the beginning as Ronda Rousey prepares for her comeback, while Amanda Nunes puts her belt on the line for the first time. read news >>

Countdown to UFC 207: Dominick Cruz Readies for Undefeated Cody Garbrandt | MMAWeekly.com

  • 26 days ago
  • 38 views

Resurgent bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz braces for undefeated knockout artist Cody Garbrandt. read news >>

UFC 207: Nunes vs Rousey - Fantasy Cheat Sheet

  • 26 days ago
  • 10 views

All the big fights at UFC 207 are hard to pick but we have you covered with this week's fantasy cheat sheet. Who will win between Amanda Nunes-Ronda Rousey, Dominick Cruz-Cody Garbrandt and more. read news >>

Get connected! We're taking you behind the scenes of UFC 207 in Las Vegas

  • 26 days ago
  • 5 views

The UFC returns to Las Vegas this week with the year-end UFC 207 card. Here’s how to stay up to date and go behind the scenes with all of our social-media accounts.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

The Question: Does Ronda Rousey Have a Future in MMA After UFC 207?

  • 25 days ago
  • 23 views

In 2015, Ronda Rousey had the whole world's attention. She was demolishing foes in a way never seen before. She was setting pay-per-view records. She was main eventing shows around the world. She was read news >>

Why UFC fighter and MMA promoter James Krause isn't so sure a union is for him

  • 25 days ago
  • 6 views

A torn hamstring is keeping James Krause out of the octagon until February. He’s not going broke, but as he knows well, others aren’t aren’t so lucky.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Ronda Rousey: 'I Have a Much Bigger Point to Make This Time' (UFC 207 Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago
  • 24 views

Ronda Rousey returns at UFC 207 against Amanda Nunes with an unbreakable hope to reach the level she was at before her loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. read news >>

Dana White Comments on Brock Lesnar's Future with UFC

  • 25 days ago
  • 49 views

The UFC suspended Brock Lesnar for one year and fined him $250,000 after it was revealed he failed two drug tests prior to his win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200. It appears his time in the Octagon may be read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): UFC 207's T.J. Dillashaw and Marvin Vettori

  • 25 days ago
  • 4 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests T.J. Dillashaw and Marvin Vettori.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>