Demian Maia will make his debut at welterweight this Saturday night when he collides with Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148. Maia was pegged as a future champion after entering the UFC and skyrocketing into a title-fight with middleweight champ Anderson Silva.

However, since the loss to Silva, Maia has only gone 3-2 and as a result decided to make the cut to welterweight.

“I think in the UFC there are no easy divisions right now, with plenty of top fighters in all weight classes,” said Maia in a recent interview with the UFC’s website. “(Welterweight) is a very tough division, with very good wrestlers and some solid strikers as well.”

Of course, atop the division right now is long-time champion Georges St-Pierre. GSP is currently rehabbing a torn ACL, and is expected to unify the belt with interim title-holder Carlos Condit later this year.

“GSP is a great champion and has been dominating the division for a long time, that alone shows how good he is,” Maia admitted. “I admire him, not only for the fighter he is, but the great ambassador he is for the sport.”

Maia joined the UFC in 2007 and has won nine times inside the Octagon. His match with Kim is slated for the pay-per-view main card.


MMATraining Take: Maia showed he has what it takes to compete with the best, and if he can string together a couple of wins, he could be a contender. However, the welterweight division is currently filled with young contenders, so Maia will have to pull an upset or two to reach title-contendership.