Demian Maia’s fights look pretty much the same since he moved down to welterweight (170 lbs). Accurate takedowns, guard passes and back control – one of the Brazilian’s specialties – are positions frequently used in the octagon. But, although the transitions may look the same, the techniques are always in constant evolution. And recently, the jiu-jitsu ace had a unexpected help from one of his students.
According to Maia, the idea of keeping in constant evolution in jiu-jitsu consists of adjusting each position to perfection. That’s why the Brazilian’s last bouts against Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit were all finished in different, but similar ways. Of course, these adjustments are kept in secret.
“During this camp I discovered a new transition to the back control. Besides the transition I made against Condit, I learned a new one that allows my submission to be more efficient. A student and friend gave me a tip, I made same adjustments of my own and mixed it with something Rilion [Gracie] once told me. I’m constantly learning”, Maia told Ag. Fight.
“It changes a lot. Specially the back control. What I was doing a year ago is totally different form what I do now. It looks the same, but the details regarding the position of your body, arm control, angle and pressure, are constantly being evolved. The difference between the my submissions against Brown and Condit are clear. I put a lot of work there. After I fought Brown, I started to study the reason I had lost positions. I always do this kind of stuff and I was much more efficient against Condit”, the Brazilian continued.
A jiu-jitsu specialist with many titles in his carrer, Maia’s strongest weapon is definately his grappling – totally different from his next opponent, Jorge Masvidal. Younger, quick and agile, the American is a born striker. And this factor can make things easier for the Brazilian once the fight is on the ground.
“Size is a funny thing, you only know when you see it with your own eyes. But he’s done a good job at 170 lbs and I don’t think that is a dominant factor. His game is based on his boxing, with a good takedown defense and ‘ok jiu-jitsu skills’. Basically, he fight like a boxer. […] Hypothetically, yes [I like this match]. But, of course, fighting you can’t predict”, analyzed Maia.
Currently 3rd place at welterwight rankings, Maia has 18 victories in the UFC – a record among brazilian athletes – and has won his six last bouts. These impressive numbers may give the impression the Brazilian is the next in line for a title-shot. But, recent events have made the jiu-jitsu ace cautious on this matter.
Last August, after beating Condit, Maia was officially announced by Dana White as the belt’s first contender. But, after waiting for some months, the Brazilian was informed by the UFC president that the scenario had changed and that he should go back fighting if he still wanted to dream with a title-shot.
“I have no guarantee I’m going to fight for the title if I win Masvidal. They [UFC] never commit themselves. They did not make me any promises, but Dana talked to my manager [Edu Alonso] and left it between the lines. But that does not make any difference now because first I have to win this fight. […] Actually, I never got myself deceived in this business world. Decisions that I don’t think are fair are made in this business world. And I knew that when I starded in this game”, pointed Maia.