If you ask
The former All-American wrestler has quietly built a 9-0-1 record as a professional mixed martial artist and has gained a reputation as one of the UFC's most-feared 155-pound fighters. But a title shot? Not yet.
It's not that he thinks he's physically incapable of hanging with the top dogs in the division. But, as his detractors are often eager to remind him, he's still far from a fan favorite, and he knows it.
"The key is, you've got to have people who are eager to pay to check you out," said Maynard. "After [
Part of the problem may be Maynard's fighting style. Though he surprised everyone when he put on a boxing clinic against
But as fans aren't clamoring to watch Maynard in the cage, opponents are dying to meet him in the Octagon either. Not only is he a guy who can beat you, he can also make you look bad in the process. And unfortunately for
Huerta, who faces the wrath of Maynard at UFC Fight Night 19 on Sept. 16, is said to be more interested in pursuing an acting and modeling career than a fighting one. The bout with Maynard marks the end of his current contract with the UFC, and with it, the final chapter in a contentious relationship between Huerta and his employer.
For Maynard, the fight with Huerta is a perfect opportunity to further show off his improved all-around game. Since making his UFC debut following the fifth season of
"People can say, 'He can't strike, he doesn't have any hands,'" said Maynard. "Well, I was just getting into the sport back then. It all takes time."
At 30 years old, time is something Maynard still has, though he won't be able to say that for too much longer. At this point, it may not be enough simply to win. He has to find a way to excite fans without assuming needless risks. He needs to become the guy people will pay to see, and he needs to do it soon.