Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 6/22/12

Gray Maynard (Pictured) has entered two UFC title fights and didn’t leave the Octagon with the hardware on either occasion. The lightweight is now trying to claw his way back up the totem pole, but redemption isn’t his primary motivation, obtaining financial security for his expanding family is.

“My girl is pregnant and that changes your outlook in life,” Maynard revealed. “I don’t just want that belt for myself now, but to secure the future for my kid who’s about to come into the world. Being a world champion and having big fights secures my kid’s future.”

Maynard was granted a rematch with then-champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 136 in October after the 155-pounders fought to a highly controversial draw at UFC 125. The immediate sequel kept the entire weight class waiting for nearly a year, which Maynard didn’t mind because he was in the thick of things. However, now that he’s on the outside looking in, “The Bully” desperately wants back in the cluster.

“There’s a big traffic jam at the top of the lightweight division,” he expressed. “You’ve got Clay [Guida] up there, Nate Diaz has been looking great and there’s Anthony Pettis, plus Frankie is rematching with Ben Henderson in September. There’s a big traffic jam in the division now – and now it isn’t me causing it, I think it sucks.

“Winning on Friday night against Guida isn’t good enough. I know I’ve got to knock him out, make a statement, to make my case for a title shot.”

Before any of that can happen, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The last time Maynard sniffed the win column was in a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Kenny Florian in August of 2010. So let’s start there.

Maynard and Guida headline tonight’s show inside Revel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. FX broadcasts the main card live beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT.

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