Fighters in the UFC come and go, just part of what can be a brutal and fickle sport behind the scenes as much so as in the cage.
But it has long seemed that fighters can increase their chances of sticking around if they put on exciting fights – even if the tick marks are adding up in the loss column for them. But Fabio Maldonado wants to be more than just a fighter who is in the UFC because President Dana White likes that he comes to battle every time the octagon door closes behind him.
White wasn’t shy about saying Maldonado would continue to have a home in the UFC despite his third straight loss about a year ago, when the cageside doctor shut down his fight with Glover Teixeira after two rounds. The Brazilian got a win over Roger Hollett in May. The pressure of that behind him, he’s ready to prove a little more.
“I want to accomplish a lot more that what I’ve shown,” Maldonado said. “I was not satisfied with my performance against Hollett. I think it could have been a lot better. I was very anxious, afraid to lose my job since I was coming off three losses. But I’m happy to still be the in the UFC.”
Maldonado (19-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) on Wednesday fights Joey Beltran (14-8 MMA, 4-5 UFC) in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night 29, which takes place at Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The main card, including Maldonado-Beltran, airs on FOX Sports 1 (7 p.m. ET) following prelims on the same channel (5 p.m. ET).
Both Maldonado and Beltran are the type of fighters with reputations for walking right through punishment to deliver a little more of their own. And that’s just the kind of fight Maldonado wanted.
“Besides victory, I always want a very tough fight,” he said. “I want to see a lot of blood in the octagon. I want to spill both my blood and that of my opponent. I want it to be an extremely violent fight. May the best man win. A fight depends on two people. Both people need to want to fight. It’s like a dance. The other person needs to want to dance too.”
By most accounts, Beltran wants to dance. That, Maldonado believes, may be good for him.
And it also could be good for Maldonado’s family and friends. He grew up not far from Barueri and trains near there, as well.
“I was born and live 40 minutes away from the arena,” Maldonado said. “Many of my friends will be there. It really motivates me. And pairing me up with Beltran was a great idea. Everything points to a great battle. I’m looking forward to trading on the feet, but I’ve been training a lot of jiu-jitsu. My jiu-jitsu is the best it’s been in my life.”
He credits training with UFC Fight Night 29 headliner Demian Maia, along with the likes of Luiz Cane and Daniel Sarafian, with bringing him along this training camp and having him in a position to not just have one of those prototypical Maldonado fights, but also have him mentally ready to start putting together a win streak.
“Mainly, you’ll see me better prepared and more focused,” he said. “I am very well trained, and I plan to unleash everything I can.”
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.