Tyron Woodley defends his title against Stephen Thompson in March
Top welterweight contender Demian Maia is content to sit out and wait for his shot at the UFC's welterweight title after turning down the chance to fight in the interim.
Maia is currently riding a six fight win streak which includes victories over Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit.
The Brazilian was due to face the winner of the co-main event at UFC 205 between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson but the pair are due to fight in a rematch after drawing their first bout.
Clarifying his position on Facebook, Maia said: "When Dana White said at UFC NY post fight press conference, after Wonderboy and Woodley fought to a draw for the WW title, that I would get the next shot if I want to wait or I could fight somebody else, my understanding was that I had earned my title shot and that it was going to happen sooner or later, and it was my choice if I wanted to remain active or not.
“I have the biggest respect for Dana, I trust him, and I had seen how Woodley could wait for longer than a year and get his title shot, that ultimately crowned him as a champion, so why would I believe it would be any different with me?
“I have fought many of the top fighters at MW and WW, including maybe the best ever at his prime, and I never had any problem fighting anyone at the right time. I would fight anyone at WW for a belt right now, interim or linear, and when we got the Masvidal fight offered we explained our reasons for being frustrated and wanting to wait for a title shot, how the proposed card could impact us financially, but said we would discuss it and come up with a decision. We even said ‘no’ yet, when news starting to pop up that we had declined the fight. Fair enough I guess, as it’s not what we had in mind anyways.
The next @UFC WW title fight is only a month away. I don't understand what's the controversy. Is have made a full statement on my Facebook.— Demian Maia (@demianmaia) February 2, 2017
“During the course of my WW journey, I have seen other fighters get title shots with win streaks that went from just one win, to three wins, and even people get a title shot coming of a loss. The only exceptions were Hendricks on his first title shot, and Wonderboy on his title shot, and I always went on record agreeing and understanding that they were the rightful contenders.
“Even though I was naturally frustrated, I understood that a draw between Wonderboy and Woodley warranted a rematch, even though I had a different take on their fight. But with their next fight just four weeks away, why can’t I have my shot after they fight? If others got their opportunities with less wins, or sometimes close fights?
"If the next WW fight was months away, I could understand any urgency, or a scenario where people feel other guys had to have their chance to claim a spot as the next contender right away. But the WW title fight is pretty much one month away, so it seems only natural to wait, and finally have my chance at WW, as this is what I really care about,” he concluded.
Woodley and Thompson are due to square off on 4th March at UFC 209.