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UFC on Fox 21: Demian Maia believes win over Carlos Condit will put him in title picture

Demian Maia, left, of Brazil, and Carlos Condit,

Demian Maia, left, of Brazil, and Carlos Condit, of the United States, pose during the weigh-in for a UFC Fight Night event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday August 26, 2016. Credit: AP / Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Demian Maia sees Saturday’s UFC Fight Night bout against Carlos Condit as part of his path to a shot at the welterweight title.

Maia, ranked third in the division, believes that if he beats Condit in the main event in Vancouver, the status as the No. 1 contender will go to either him or Stephen Thompson.

“First of all, I need to win this Saturday. It’s not an easy test. It’s probably one of the hardest tests in the welterweight division for me,” said Maia, who is 23-6 and has won five in a row.

His last loss was to Canadian Rory MacDonald more than two years ago. It’s been more than a year since the 38-year-old Maia last fought for five rounds. He earned a unanimous decision over Ryan LaFlare on March 21, 2015.

The 32-year-old Condit has gone the full five rounds in three of his last seven fights.

“Of course, it’s always a concern,” said Maia. “If you fight five rounds standing up, it’s different if you fight five rounds grappling. You spend much more energy when you grapple. Even in the grappling game . he knows how to save energy, also. He keeps going all the time. Plus, I think the most important, it’s not just about the cardio. His mind is like — he never gives up. That’s the hard thing. It’s not the cardio. It’s his mind.”

Condit (30-9) enters this fight having lost three times in his last five bouts and he had even hinted at retirement prior to this event. He has been successful in Vancouver, coming back in the final round to defeat MacDonald with a late TKO at UFC 115 in 2010.

“I always get a vibe fighting in a place and I’ve got good vibes fighting here. I love the city and going out and putting on a performance like I did that night ... I set the bar high,” said Condit.

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