Submission-specialist Demian Maia’s decision to drop down to welterweight after a respectable run at 185 pounds has proven to be the right move thus far with wins in both of his appearances since the switch. Likewise, neither victory came against a less-than reputable opponent, as Maia beat Dong Hyun Kim in his 170-pound debut and most recently took out Rick Story this past weekend at UFC 153.

For his next fight, Maia wants to up the stakes again by testing his skills against a “Top 5” foe in the form of either Jon Fitch or Nick Diaz.

Other than their divisional rank, the 17-4 Brazilian explained the popularity both possess played into his decision to mention them specifically, implying his focus was clearly set on a title-fight at some point in 2013. He then went on to give Diaz credit for his boxing and Fitch for his wrestling, as well as praised both men for their competence in BJJ.

“I have to see what the UFC has to offer as well. In the end, they decide. As I have nothing personal against any opponent, (my goal) is to have a good fight, put on a good event, maybe a main event or co-main event to begin to emerge as a contender,” said Maia in the conversation with TATAME.

Fitch also fought at UFC 153 where he outpointed Erick Silva and escaped the evening without injury, making him for a strong possibility as far as Maia’s next match-up goes, while Diaz is serving out a suspension until February and won’t be ready before then.

Maia is 11-4 inside the Octagon including past wins over the likes of Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Jorge Santiago, Dan Miller, and Chael Sonnen.