London, England — Jennifer Maia defended her eighth ranked spot in the women’s flyweight division at UFC 286 against undefeated contender, Casey O’Neill. Entering the bout, Maia was coming off an impressive win over Mayra Moroz, with O’Neill likely knowing it was her toughest test to date.
Ahead of the fight, O’Neill was being pipped as a future champion, especially if she could get through the veteran Maia. The Brazilian though had very different plans, and has title hopes of her own. Maia challenged for the women’s flyweight championship back in 2020 but was unsuccessful and became another victim to former champ Valentina Shevchenko’s reign.
When the dust settled at UFC 286, all three judges were in agreement that the 34-year-old Maia did enough to get her hand raised, igniting her title aspirations once again. “My goal is to obviously fight for the title again so maybe one more fight and then a fight for the title.” Maia said following the win, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
Unfortunately for Maia, with the division now having a new champion in Alexa Grasso, she may have to wait a while for a title shot due to the time frame and there being contenders above her that are more worthy.
Title talk aside, Jennifer Maia did have something to say about Casey O’Neill possibly applying ‘oil’ before their fight.
“I really wanted to show you guys my ground game, but Casey was very greased up. Very oily, very slippery, and it really threw me off.”
Asked if it could perhaps have been sweat, the former title challenger replied “Listen I don’t want to just call shots like this. It could be skin moisturiser but I’m definitely just letting you know it was not just sweat.”
Maia noticed the greasiness of her opponent from the outset. “As soon as I locked bodies against the cage, I have a very strong game against the cage and I felt extreme difficulty to get hold of her and keeping hold of her because she was so slippery. So I had to mainly go back to boxing.”
For Jennifer Maia, after this big upset win, a fight against a top contender to cement herself as the next challenger could make sense.
Watch the full UFC 286 post-fight press conference with Jennifer Maia above.