For Demian Maia Saturday night at UFC 194, the chance to test his skills vs. Gunnar Nelson was one he embraced.
Maia, a former middleweight title contender, completely dominated Nelson in claiming a decision victory. The Brazilian is now 7-2 over his last nine, including four consecutive victories.
For the fight, Maia (22-6) held a plus-186 advantage in total strikes. After the performance, he went on to proclaim himself the No. 1 contender.
“I have had nine fights in this division, with seven wins and four in a row,” he said. “Everyone ranked (I have fought). So I ask Dana (White), I want to fight the winner of (Carlos) Condit-(Robbie) Lawler for the title.
“I truly believe in my heart I can be world champion and I want to have the chance.”
Outside of decision defeats to Rory MacDonald and Jake Shields, Maia has scored consecutive victories over Nelson, Neil Magny, Ryan LaFlare and Alexander Yakovlev. He fought Anderson Silva for the 185-pound title in 2010 after winning 12 of his first 13 pro fights.
Nelson suffered his second loss in the UFC, falling to 14-2-1 overall.