When top UFC lightweight contender Gray Maynard stepped into the Octagon on January 1 to square off against Frankie Edgar, he did so with the idea that the best fighter would be decided and crowned champion.
Five months later, the fight still hasn't been decided; and with recent injuries to both fighters in their respective training camps, the fight has now been pushed back from later this month to August or September.
Maynard takes it in stride however, knowing that the fight will come. The former Michigan State wrestling star has been fighting his entire life and feels blessed to just be able to do what he loves.
"I've been doing contact sports since I was about 3 years old," Maynard told MMA Fight Corner presented by FiveKnuckles.com. "I ended up trying out for the Olympics in 2004. It's a hard goal, it's just a hard one, so I ended up not doing that after about a year of trying.
"I moved back home and there was a couple of jiu-jitsu clubs and I thought I'd try it out. Then I ended up getting called by B.J. Penn to come down to help him train for Rodrigo Gracie and that kinda opened up my eyes a little bit. I ended up getting with (Randy) Couture when I came back for his camp for a Chuck Liddell fight and it all clicked, so I quit my job and started fighting. Easy transition. I'm blessed, I love it."
Earlier this year Maynard was involved with one of the most entertaining title fights in UFC history. His historic scrap with Frankie Edgar was the stuff of legend. Maynard came out in the first round with a brutal onslaught and had Edgar hurt badly, flooring him with strikes multiple times in the round.
Edgar miraculously made it out of the round, and stormed back in round two, winning the round and forcing Maynard to adjust. The two battled hard the remaining three rounds, and in the end the judges were unable to render a verdict for either fighter, calling the fight a draw.
For Maynard, just getting through the fight after the torrid first round was a victory in and of itself.
"In round one I had him hurt of course," Maynard said. "And, not that I was tired, but having everything right there, you're almost done, and you're like, 'Man, I'm the champ...' It was an adrenaline dump, and you just feel drained. I fought him the last four rounds tired. He did good and it was close. I thought I won two and he won two, but it's always up to however they score it I guess. But I think for the next fight I'll be prepared, he's a tough kid, but I'm going to put it on him."
After his success against Edgar in the fights first round, Maynard seems content to stick with the same gameplan heading into their next encounter this fall.
"The last one, in round one it was obviously great, but I blew it out for the last four rounds," Maynard said. "So, I can't look at that and say, 'Well, I'm going to change all this stuff.' You know, I was drained for the last four rounds. I felt flat. Legs felt drained, arms felt drained, just flat. He did a good job though. He's a tough kid. You know, he's tough as hell, but for the last four I felt like I was in mud."
The winner of...