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Thales Leites open to future fight against Demian Maia

Traditionally, Brazilian fighters have shied away from fighting fellow countrymen when competing outside of their home country. However, in a new interview with Brazilian MMA website Tatame, rising UFC middleweight Thales Leites indicates that he’s open to the idea of fighting Demian Maia, a rising UFC middleweight in his own right.

“I’d accept a fight [vs. Maia], I’m a professional,” Leites is quoted as saying in an interview translated from Portuguese to English. “Demian is a great fighter and has been doing a great job in UFC. It’s possible that they put this fight, because the belt is with a Brazilian guy and we’re growing, so they can put this fight to take one of the Brazilians from the tops.”

Having won four straight fights, Leites is looking for a win to catapult him into the UFC title picture, which currently revolves around another Brazilian middleweight, Anderson Silva.

A win over Maia would certainly make some noise, as his fellow countryman is 9-0 overall and 4-0 since entering the UFC in October of 2007. Maia is also a world renowned grappler who is coming off his greatest level of exposure having submitted Nate Quarry during the undercard of UFC 91, which was headlined by Randy Couture losing the UFC heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar.

Leites’ informal proposal of a bout vs. Maia is one that UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva might give serious consideration to, as Maia is in need of a credible opponent for his next fight. Speculation had centered around Maia possibly serving as a coach opposite Michael Bisping for the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” however, with the U.S. vs. UK concept cemented, there appears to be no room for a Brazilian coaching a team comprised exclusively of American fighters.

In addition to having some marketing appeal, Leites makes the case that it would be an entertaining fight in terms of match quality.

“I believe it’d be a good fight,” Leites is quoted as telling Tatame. “We almost have the same game and it’s kind of different from the American guys, who goes from striking and work on the ground n’ pound. We know each other’s game and it’d be a huge fight. Demian has been doing a good job, but I’d accept this fight.”

  • Freedom says:

    Dont know why people keep saying that Brazilian fighters dont like to fight each other. It happened all the time in Pride.

  • egad81 says:

    I say fight whomever is standing between you and the belt.
    If they said… Hey fight the Pope and you can fight for a belt…. I wouldnt think twice.

  • paddiosf says:

    I noticed last summer while vacationing in Brazil the locals where like Brazilian’s don’t like to fight each other, especially in the UFC, there attitude was like everyone that was fighting in the UFC that wasnt Brazilian wasnt’s all about BJJ down there, if your a BJJ style fighter they have a different repect for you…

  • Davey D says:

    Leites has some courage to say this in public. I’m not sure if he can defeat Maia though? It does make for a good idea because it gives Zuffa other option’s as well. Thales might possibly be set to face Nate Marquardt again so we’ll see what they do next.

  • steve says:

    if they put together this bout i’d say the winner deserves the next title shot.


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