Eduardo Alonso, the manager for rising welterweight contender Demian Maia, believes he has the perfect opponent in mind for his fighter: Tarec Saffiedine.
Saffiedine was the last Strikeforce 170-pound champion, defeating Nate Marquardt before the promotion folded up shop earlier this year.
Maia, meanwhile, is a former No. 1 contender in the middleweight division, and has earned three straight wins – including a decision victory over Jon Fitch – since dropping down to welterweight.
“The division is scrambled, almost all the contenders are fighting at UFC 158 in March, including Georges St-Pierre,” said Alonso, during a recent interview with Tatame. “Now, Demian is among the tops. Do not know if it pays to wait. Has Strikeforce champion coming, so we’ll see who shows up. Saffiedine, being Strikeforce champion, adds prestige. Depending on the timing, it can be interesting.”
Saffiedine (14-3) has won four straight and seven of his last eight. He dominated Marquardt in January, while Maia’s (18-4) win over Fitch came in early February.
As Alonso said, the majority of the Top-10 in the welterweight division are booked for March, as GSP defends his title against Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks faces Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald battles Carlos Condit.