Woodley, co-hosting UFC Tonight Wednesday night, kicked off the program by making the announcement.
“I’ll be taking on backpack, backpack. Demian Maia and I will be fighting on July 29. I’ve been training. He’s coming for the belt and guess what, I’m not giving it up easy,” he said. “I’ve been training, cutting those ankles, so I can lift that head up. I know he’s going to go for the legs and will try to put me down and work his jiu-jitsu game. I’ll be very prepared. I’m excited to defend my belt.”
The 35-year-old Woodley (17-3-1) is unbeaten over his last four fights, going 4-0-1. He earned a majority decision vs. Stephen Thompson in March after the two fought to a draw last year.
Woodley claimed the belt with a knockout of Robbie Lawler and is 7-2-1 over 10 Octagon appearances.
Maia, four years older, is 25-6 and carries a seven-fight win streak with him. A former middleweight title challenger, the Brazilian has bested Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit and Matt Brown in his last three fights – submitting Condit and Brown.