After an 11-year run with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Gray Maynard will be fighting elsewhere in the foreseeable future. “The Bully” tells MMA Junkie that he has parted ways with his longtime employer and the hunt for a new promotion to compete for is on.
“I don’t know – we’re trying to work some stuff out,” Maynard said. “(I’m) not with the UFC anymore, so I’m trying to work some stuff out, check what’s going to make sense, and probably be at featherweight. So that’s the next step,” he added.
“It’s wide open. I’ve always dealt with the UFC like on a contractual term, and just kind of who I’m going up against, and basically, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s do it.’ And now that I’m done, I kind of wanted to have a manager and let them deal with it.”
Gray got his start with UFC way back in 2007 as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 5. In his official debut for the promotion, he faced Rob Emerson in the finals, with the bout ending in a super-rare double knockout (recap).
From there, “The Bully” went on a nice eight-fight win streak which earned him a shot at the Lightweight title, which was held by Frankie Edgar at the time. The two fought to a spit draw at UFC 125 and ultimately fought again eight months later at UFC 136, with “The Answer” knocking Maynard out.
Since then, Gray has gone 3-6 inside the Octagon.
While doesn’t hold any grudges with UFC, he does feel he should have walked away from the promotion a few years back to test the waters elsewhere.
“Man, it was time,” Maynard said, “It’s been time for a while. And you know, great fights – I had a good time there. But it just really wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I was in my last contract with eight fights,” he added.
“At the beginning, I was in a nine-fight contract. So it’s been a lot of long holds, and there weren’t really a lot of options as I was coming up. Lately, there’s been a lot more options, and it was a mutual deal, and I just moved on.”
Maynard (40), was last seen losing to Nik Lentz in October of last year at the UFC 229 mega event headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.