NASVHILLE – Jennifer Maia had a simple argument after a hard fought victory over Alexis Davis at Saturday's UFC on ESPN + 6.
Taking out an opponent who has ranked n. 5 in the official UFC rankings, Maia said, it could be argued that he was taking the place. Going forward, then, it would make sense that the former Invicta FC champion was fighting someone who ranked above.
"Now I expect to get one of the top three," said Maia backstage at the Bridgestone Arena in Nasvhille, in her native Portuguese. "Katlyn (Chookagian) could be one of them – I don't remember the top-3 right now, but I remember her – and, humbly, I make my way through the charts."
Chookagian, of course, is not exactly a possibility at the moment, considering that he has already booked Joanne Calderwood at UCFC 238. Indeed, all the women in the top-3 are booked: No. 1 Jessica Eye is ready to challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the title, while No. 2 Sijara Eubanks has a UFC in ESPN + 9 with Aspen Ladd.
This does not necessarily mean that Maia will not get her wish, however, considering a sport in which the injuries and shocks of the last minute are relatively common. And, in any case, it is a mathematics that it will be up to the matchmakers to discover.
So far, they have not given Maia an easy UFC road. Soon after, Maia was paired with a former bantamweight title challenger in Liz Carmouche. Maia (16-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) ended up on the losing end of the scorecards then, only to be paired with another former challenger to Davis (19-9 MMA, 6-4 CFU).
Davis is currently the number 8 opponent in the USA TODAY Sports / MMA Junkie MMA charts, while Carmouche is at no. 9. Maia, in turn, occupies the place number 10.
Speaking to MMA Junkie ahead of Saturday's meeting with Davis, however, Maia was clear in saying that she had no problems with the difficult road planned for her. And, after crossing Davis to finally win his first UFC victory, Maia insisted that he didn't hang specific names, but simply climbing the 125 pound scale.
And she is sure she has what it takes to get to the top – which is currently occupied by champion Shevchenko.
"He is a very tough athlete, but I think I have what it takes to get there and soon, perhaps, to fight for the title," Maia said.
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The importance of Saturday's attack when it comes to making it happen was not lost with Maia, who had to rely on her will and confidence in her corners to make sure that she didn't slip into his fingers heading towards the third and decisive the turn.
"According to the instructions of my coaches, I knew I had won the first round and the second round was his," said Maia. "I really wanted to win this fight, and I knew I had to play it all the time in the third round to win the fight. This is what motivated me, in the third round, to pursue victory with all my will.
"I am very happy. I knew it would be a very tough fight, because Alexis Davis is a very experienced athlete. But I trained very hard to be able to get this victory and get a good position in my promotion division."
To listen to Maia, watch the video above.
And for full UFC coverage on ESPN + 6, check the UFC Events section of the site.