Gray Maynard’s goal since he walked into his first day on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” remains the same as he gets ready for his UFC lightweight title fight against Frankie Edgar.
He wants to be the best lightweight in the world.
The Las Vegas based fighter has been a competitor all his life, and from his days as a wrestler at Michigan State University, Maynard strives to simply be the best at whatever he’s doing. Even though he’s a professional athlete now and making his living as a fighter, that doesn’t mean Maynard has some new ulterior motive.
“There was no money in (wrestling) so that was the only hope that you had,” Maynard joked about working to be the best when he wrestled in college.
At the end of the night when UFC 125 is over, Maynard isn’t worried so much about the gold belt that could be wrapped around his waist, or even the paycheck that UFC president Dana White will surely hand to him.
“I want to be the top in the world. That’s all I care about,” Maynard told MMAWeekly Radio. “The actual belt is just a belt, but to be at the top of the world, that’s the whole goal from day one. It’s not like I’m trying to do this for the cash or the belt, it’s just the top of the world. That’s the whole goal for every sport if I played it.”
This will be Maynard’s first opportunity to fight the best lightweight in the world, but not the first time he’s faced Frankie Edgar.
The two lightweights met back in 2008 with Maynard coming out on top via unanimous decision. He was able to out-wrestle and simply overpower Edgar for the better part of three rounds to keep his record perfect at the time.
His record remains perfect heading into the rematch with Edgar as well.
The first fight between Maynard and Edgar may have been a few years ago, but the Xtreme Couture fighter still believes there are certain things he can take away from that fight to help him in the rematch with the now UFC champion.
“You can use stuff of course,” Maynard said. “We both have evolved, it was about two-and-a-half years ago and for each camp you evolve, you change, and we’ve been going up against the top guys in the world, so you’ve got to change and evolve.”
Maynard looks at the work Edgar has done since their first fight and he’s impressed by the champion’s speed, accuracy with his hands, and the strategy he’s used in recent wins. Impressed or not, Maynard knows that if he gets Edgar in his grasp, it could be the beginning of the end.
“If I get a hold of anybody, that’s a big advantage for me,” Maynard stated.
The powerful wrestler hopes to duplicate his performance over Edgar when the two meet at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day, and if he’s smiling when Bruce Buffer announces him as the new champion, it’s because Gray Maynard knows he’s now the best lightweight in the world.