by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Gray Maynard may be the next star in the lightweight division. He has above average wrestling, good strikes and solid submission defense.
On season five of The Ultimate Fighter, Maynard fought his way to the semi-finals where he succumbed to a guillotine choke by Nate Diaz.
After that fight, he was pitted against fellow Ultimate Fighter contestant Rob Emerson. Maynard was doing very well in the fight. In the second round, he picked up Emerson for a slam and knocked himself unconscious as Emerson tapped after suffering a rib injury. The bout was ruled a no contest and subsequently was considered one of the most unusual fights in mixed martial arts history.
After that fight, Maynard knocked out Joe Veras in only nine seconds of the very first round. And in January, he defeated Dennis Siver by unanimous decision.
Maynard will have his toughest test, by far, in his career when he takes on Frankie “The Answer” Edgar on April 2 at UFC Fight Night in Colorado. Edgar is 8-0 and has defeated the likes of Tyson Griffin, Mark Bocek and Spencer Fisher.
MMAWeekly Radio recently spoke to Maynard about his upcoming fight. “Oh man, I think it’s gonna be a great fight,” he exclaimed. “I had a great camp and I can’t wait to get in there.”
Edgar is known for his fantastic wrestling ability, but Maynard is an excellent wrestler as well. The Las Vegas native believes he can take Edgar out of his game and control his opponent’s wrestling ability. “I’m gonna sprawl, of course. I’m gonna beat him up.”
Las Vegas’ Xtreme Couture gym has become one of the most well-known and talent laden camps in the entire world. This is why Maynard chose to train there. “Every day it’s a scrap,” he explained. “Every day you better bring it or otherwise you’ll get beat up. I love it.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on April 2 will put on the most talent-filled Fight Night card that they have ever compiled. Maynard is very excited to be part of such a stacked card. “There are so many good scraps going on. I’m like, ‘I want to watch that fight.’ It’s cool. I’m pumped about it.”
With a win over Edgar, Maynard would catapult to one of the top contenders in the division. The lightweight division is the most robust division in all of mixed martial arts, and has plenty of talent. Some fighters may be intimidated by the quality of fighters in the division, but not Maynard. “It’s stacked. I’m like, ‘come on’. I want to fight all these guys.”
He will have an All Star corner, which will contain estranged UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, as well as top lightweight contender Tyson Griffin. “I’m going step it up for this one. I’m just kind of at the point where I’ll grab whatever. I’ll just grab the leftovers,” Maynard said sarcastically.
This bout has “Fight of the Night” potential and Maynard knows it. However, he is very realistic about the possible outcome of the fight. “If I don’t KO him, it’ll be a three-round deal. He’s a tough kid and I know it’ll be a tough scrap.”