UFC newcomer Jennifer Maia was already the Invicta FC Flyweight champion, but she has a much more prestigious belt in her sights.
The Brazilian Maia (15-4-1) had just defended her belt against Agnieszka Niedzwiedz when the UFC contacted her to join its ranks. However, she had to turn down their first offered match, a fight against current number one contender Valentina Shevchenko. About that match, Maia says,
“I didn’t want to get too excited with the call to get into the UFC and end up not doing a good fight. I wanted to enter the UFC at 100 percent. That’s why I said no, so I could wait for the right time.”
Which has brought her to her debut fight against seasoned competitor Liz Carmouche (11-6). While this is her biggest fight stage yet, Maia has long been considered one of the best Flyweights in the world, with wins over Roxanne Modafferi, Vanessa Porto, and Zoila Frausto.
However, Maia is doing her best to not put too much pressure on herself. She says, “I’m thinking that I’m building a new story inside the biggest event,” Maia said. “Whatever happened served as experience to get me ready to get to where I am now. … I did very tough fights, against very tough opponents, and that worked toward preparing me well. My first Invicta FC title fight was a dream for me. It was a war, against Vanessa Porto. And I also defended the title twice. All three of those were five-round fights. This only strengthened me to make my own way inside the UFC.”
With a win over Carmouche, Maia would seemed to be poised for a fight against the winner of the inevitable UFC title fight between champion Nicco Montano and Valentina Shevchenko. Maia believes, “I think it might happen (to fight for the title next), But you never know how the promotion is going to go, if that’s the fight they’ll make. I hope I can do a good fight, maybe another one after this, to fight for the title soon.”
What do you think? Will Maia earn a title shot? Will she beat Carmouche?