Lightweight Gray Maynard is quietly making a name for himself with his performances inside the Octagon. The Xtreme Couture-trained fighter puts his perfect 7-0 mark on the line tonight as he faces the toughest test of his career in Roger Huerta at “UFC Fight Night 19.”
“Huerta’s not a guy who’s technical, he’s a guy it’s all heart, and so (ring) rust on that, I don’t know if you have that too much. Huerta’s a guy who is all heart so I think he’ll be prepared,” Maynard told MMAWeekly of his opponent.
A major mental advantage that Maynard may enjoy entering the scrap is fact that this is Huerta’s final professional fight as he will be transitioning to acting the very second the bout concludes. It’s highly possible that he has already checked out and is only competing tonight in order to fulfill his final UFC obligation and be done with the organization.
Maynard isn’t banking on that theory one bit. In fact, he’s taken on the mentality that he’s going to be facing the best Roger Huerta ever. Maynard’s philosophy is that there is nothing more dangerous than a fighter with nothing to lose, and that is exactly where Huerta sits as he enters his swan song bout.
“I just plan on trying to control it in every area,” Maynard stated. “You’ve got guys like GSP, he’s got it in all areas and we’re all trying to strive to get there. That’s the goal, to be good in every area and control it. Some guys try to be good, I want to be great in all areas.”
That sounds like a great game plan, if not generic, however Huerta didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. Just because he’s got his sights set on the bright lights of Hollywood and not the glare of UFC gold, don’t forget that he stakes claim to an impressive 20-2-1 record and was just derailed from his 11-fight winning streak when Kenny Florian dominated him in his last outing at UFC 87 in August of 2008.
So when all else fails?
“Brawl and maul,” Maynard emphatically stated of his Plan-B.
A W of this caliber will certainly solidify Maynard as one of the division’s legit rising stars. However, the wrestler’s ultimate goal is to have UFC brass approach him with blockbuster opponents, not the other way around.
“I want it where they come to me and it’s like, ‘Hey, we want this.’ I don’t want to have to ask, it’s like, ‘Please Dana, Joe, give this to me, please,” Maynard said. “I hate asking for stuff. I’m not going to ask them for nothing. I want (them) to ask me, ‘Hey, you’re doing great and it’s time.’ And of course I’ll say yes.”
Maynard is still a few solid victories away from a title bout, but a convincing win tonight is certainly another giant step in the right direction.
You can catch “UFC Fight Night 19” tonight on Spike TV beginning at 8PM ET/PT.