Demian Maia talks his return to BJJ, quest towards the Welterweight title

It appears that former Middleweight title challenger Demian Maia‘s reinvention on himself at 170 is beginning to pay off in spades. After running through worthy contenders like Dong Hyun Kim and Rick Story, Maia recently took his game to another level by defeating top flight Jon Fitch at UFC 156 last Saturday.

In this MMA H.E.A.T. interview, Maia touches on the subject that many had derided him for, which was his insistence on striking when most knew he an absolutely world-class practicioner of jiujitsu. Maia acknowledges that he initially knew nothing about striking, and needed to up that part of his game over the course of a few years. This belief lead to some lackluster fights at Middleweight, noteably his decision losses to Chris Weidman and Mark Munoz.

Now, Maia has returned to his bread and butter, and it is working quite well. The Welterweight division is stacked up right now, but with one more quality win, it would be tough to deny Maia his coveted title shot. Maia appears professional and calm as always, and it is evident that his love for grappling has returned to make him a true force to be reckoned with. 


63 Comments

  1. Profile photo of InfiniteEnigma

    InfiniteEnigma

    February 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    For a moment there, I had a serious thought about the threat he is to GSP's lay n pray, although I figured GSP would avoid being subbed. Then it hit me. GSP's game plan with Maia would probably be jabb n pray points.

    • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

      Bryan Fontez

      February 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      This GSP "lay and pray" garbage is getting ridiculous.

      If you don't like the way GSP fights, then you don't like MMA. Never in my life have I ever seen GSP just lay there and to nothing. Quit exaggerating and whining like a baby, just because he isn't take ppls heads off and make blood spew our of their faces.

    • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

      Bryan Fontez

      February 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      This GSP "lay and pray" garbage is getting ridiculous.

      If you don't like the way GSP fights, then you don't like MMA. Never in my life have I ever seen GSP just lay there and do nothing.

      Quit exaggerating and whining like a baby, just because he isn't taking ppls heads off or making blood spew our of their faces.

      • Profile photo of Evan Holober

        Evan Holober

        February 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

        Bryan- He's usually doing that last part too. Still, it's apparently L&Ping.

        • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

          Bryan Fontez

          February 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

          Exactly! The guy is breaking ppls faces with his jab and dominating wrestlers in all area's of grappling.

          He does it all. But apparently that's still not good enough.

          With the attention span of some of these fans, if you aren't ninja kicking people off the fence or attempting flying triangles every 30 seconds well then you MUST be lay and praying.

          • Profile photo of godsofwararise

            godsofwararise

            February 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            It's more a case of people having really short memories. A lot of the folks complaining about GSP only seem to remember his less impressive performances against guys like Shields or Hardy while ignoring the allmighty asswhoopings his dished out to BJ or Fitch.

          • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

            Bryan Fontez

            February 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

            For sure! But don't forget it takes two guys to make an exciting fight.

            Shields is probably the most boring combat athlete in existence. Richard Simmons and Pee-wee Herman in a tag team couldn't sell that fight.

            And the Diaz fight most certainly won't be boring. I just hope GSP throws some "spinning shit" so that Diaz get's pissed off and tries to go all Stockton on his ass.

          • Profile photo of Entity

            Entity

            February 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm

            My money is on PeeWee!

      • Profile photo of InfiniteEnigma

        InfiniteEnigma

        February 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        I have plenty respect for the art. I enjoyed watching Demian Maia grapple and attempt every second to finish. GSP, does not, he wrestles and controls, 80% of his octogon time. Needs more attempts to finish to be entertaining.

      • Profile photo of Entity

        Entity

        February 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

        lol Bryan…blood spewing ROCKS! 8P

    • Profile photo of TheRealDeal

      TheRealDeal

      February 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      It could not be more clear who the people are on this site that really do not have a clue what MMA is all about, have ever trained, or ever competed in any type of combat sport.

  2. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    February 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Maia looked incredible on Sat, not the most exciting performance but completely dominating Fitch, especially on the ground, is a HUGE deal.

    GSP is the only guy to do that and Maia did a better job in the grappling department.

    What was most surprising is his wrestling was brilliant, easily taking down Fotch and he did it all 3 rounds without slowing down.

  3. Profile photo of dropkickmurphy

    dropkickmurphy

    February 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    The ease in which he took down Fitch was shocking.

  4. Profile photo of Brasil

    Brasil

    February 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    GSP is awesome and we all know that what is not fair is to call him GOAT or even top p4p….this is fighting (or should be) and the GOAT has to finish,has to be a destroyer of people and not a points fighter…also very annoying because we all know he could be this destroyer if he was fighting not to lose…..

  5. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    February 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Honestly, him taking Fitch down at will wasn't that surprising to me (still a little bit). He took down Mario Miranda at will, and he was a former Brazilian national team member in wreslting. He also threw Chael right before the triangle.

    What was surprising was Maia's gas tank. He went hard for all three rounds, and didn't lose a step when that type of grappling normally saps people. I'd like to see him against Koscheck, Pierce, or Shields next.

    The GSP talk is about as premature as it was for MacDonald.

    • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

      Bryan Fontez

      February 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Ya but don't forget Evan… he didn't have to do much for most of the fight, given that he didn't even have to support his own weight lol.

      He piggy backed Fitch the entire time. Which is smart since I'm sure it helped him conserve some energy while draining Fitch.

      • Profile photo of Evan Holober

        Evan Holober

        February 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Those takedowns were really worked for though. He put in some effort that fight, and I'll give him his props. He really stepped up his conditioning.

      • Profile photo of grapplure

        grapplure

        February 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

        @Bryan Fontez

        ive been reading your absurd comments but this time i had to step in.

        as a bjj practicioner my self, yes he was on fitchs back and most of his weight was supported but his legs could of given out!! as they were in a "seat belt" as we would say in my gym. or body triangle for you noods(bryan)

        btw. gsp is a lay (jab) and pray artis by DEFINITION.

        have a good day keep on learning!

  6. Profile photo of cranestyle

    cranestyle

    February 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Incredible display of BJJ and grappling. Mind you, anyone who criticizes GSP's fighting style but should totally hate Maia's performance or be labeled a hypocrite.

    • Profile photo of Evan Holober

      Evan Holober

      February 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Oh, I didn't even think about this. Do you realize how many GSP haters have been championing Maia after last night!?

    • Profile photo of grapplure

      grapplure

      February 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      @cranestyle.

      maia finishes fights. gsp doesnt.

      care to go in to detail?

      • Profile photo of Evan Holober

        Evan Holober

        February 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm

        Shirley, you can't be serious…

        • Profile photo of grapplure

          grapplure

          February 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

          @Evan Holober

          i just looked at the numbers and maia has a higher percentage of finishes.

          gsp has finished 13 out 23 wins
          maia has finished 12 out of 18 wins

          you do the math!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Profile photo of grapplure

            grapplure

            February 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

            ps. when you reply to my comments please come correct

          • Profile photo of Evan Holober

            Evan Holober

            February 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm

            So, he has more finishes?

          • Profile photo of grapplure

            grapplure

            February 5, 2013 at 12:39 am

            please read my comment carefully.^^^^^^

            "maia finishes fights. gsp doesnt."

            now lets look at gsp's last 5 fights and then lets look at maia's last 5 fights kids

          • Profile photo of Evan Holober

            Evan Holober

            February 5, 2013 at 2:05 am

            So, he has more finishes.?

          • Profile photo of Entity

            Entity

            February 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm

            12 and 18 is 30
            13 and 23 is…wait, gotta take off my shoes, ran out of fingers…8P 8))

          • Profile photo of codemaster

            codemaster

            February 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

            GSP is about 56% finishes vs. decisions based on total wins

            Maia is about 67% of finishes vs. decisions based on total wins

            But Maia has lost 2 times more fights than GSP.

            GSP has fought more often than Maia.

            GSP has fought more top talent than Maia–by far, since GSP has been Champ for quite a while.

            GSP has avenged his only two losses.

            GSP is curently on a 10 fight winning streak.

            Except for his two losses, GSP has dominated almost every opponent he faced.

            Bottom line–the criticism of GSP is lame–and is not based upon a rational assesment of his abilities.

          • Profile photo of codemaster

            codemaster

            February 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm

            It should also be noted that GSP defeated opponents who had long winning streaks.

            16, 15, 12, 7, 7, 6, 5 etc.

            Takedown accuracy 76%
            Takedown Defense 86%

            UFC Records:

            Significant Strikes Landed 1st
            Knockdowns landed 8th
            Strike differential 5th
            Sig. Strike Defense 3rd
            Total Stikes landed 1st
            Takedowns Landed 1st
            Takedown accuracy 1st
            Takedown Defense 4th * note, those above had fewer fights
            Submissions Attempted 6th
            Total fight time 4th

            You may or may not like GSP, but to deny his accomplishments is not rational.

      • Profile photo of cranestyle

        cranestyle

        February 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

        @ Evan – no, I didn't but for some reason, I'm totally not surprised

        @ onemoreround- -First, I was talking about Maia performance in reference to this article, meaning the fight against Fitch. He didn't finish. He didn't even come close to a finish, he just dominated every round. Exactly like GSP.

        2nd, if you want to start quoting stats on finishing, don't you think the quality of opponent is a major factor. If GSP fought the guys that Maia had finished, his numbers would be much higher.

        Maia has also fought really high level guys, Weidman, Munoz, Silva, but the difference being, he lost all those fights.

  7. Profile photo of toxic

    toxic

    February 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    beautiful performance from Maia and the stupid growd was disliking it because it wasnt a bloodbath. i Dont think the majority of MMA fans know what MMA stands for or the purpose with it, unfortunately. Maia was like a spider controlling its pray… I think GSP gonna think twice before going to the ground with him…

    • Profile photo of Entity

      Entity

      February 5, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Keep in mind MMA fans are fickle, at first Maia's performance is great, but if he rides the back of his next 10 fights to decisions, everyone will call him lame and boring….it always happens to anyone who doesnt get KO's and many decisions.
      Time will tell if Fitch is a rarity who can defend Maia's subs and BJJ.

  8. Profile photo of GianGiacommo G

    GianGiacommo G

    February 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Maybe Maia vs Hendricks? Think Ellenberger is already fighting someone else,not sure,Koschek could be a possibility too,think Diego is going back to 155 and Kanpman got beat on his last fight..let's not forget T-Wood,who knows,I'm out!

  9. Profile photo of UnderdogGreatness

    UnderdogGreatness

    February 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Ladies and gentlemen, the WW division may have found its future Champ in Maia.

  10. Profile photo of Brasil

    Brasil

    February 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Come on Crane…. This is just my opinion…..and deep down I am sure you would like GSP to be able to finish a fight.

  11. Profile photo of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    February 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Well, I picked Maia. So, I'm happy with the outcome, yet I was disappointed that he couldn't finish him.

    With that said, the thing I took away from that fight is that Fitch is not the wrestler we thought he was. Either that or Demian Maia is a serious wrestling challenge in the 170 division. And when pondering the question, remember how well Penn did against Fitch in their match.

    In terms of GSP, I just don't see it going down the way it did for Fitch. I'm sorry. We're talking about the king-of-take-downs, the emperor of TDD and the man whose (probably) spent the least time of anyone in his division or all of The UFC, on his back. He has the best transitional game (from stand-up to take-down) in all of MMA. Only Koscheck has a better, more authorization shot. I respect the hell out of Maia, but I just don't see it happening.

    I still see Johnny Hendricks as the #1 contender and the biggest threat to The Champ's title. I still see Hendrick's as the next fight for GSP (given that he beats Diaz).

    And interesting fight for Maia, for his next bout…the winner of MacDonald / Condit. He wins that and he's looking at a title shot, IMO.

    If GSP exits the division this year, which I believe he will, then Maia will stand an excellent chance of taking the title, but not while GSP reigns supreme. GSP takes out Hendricks and that's pretty much it for The Champ in the division. Nothing else more to prove. Maia could well be Champ in 2014. Either him, Hendricks or MacDonald. That's who you're new 170 Champ will be, should GSP beat Diaz and Hendricks in 2013. My call at-any-rate.

    • Profile photo of grapplure

      grapplure

      February 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      @mma truth

      mark my words you heard it here first!

      if maia continues to improves his takedowns and closing the distance he will out-gsp gsp. ;)

      • Profile photo of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        February 4, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        @ OMR

        Taking Fitch down and taking GSP down are two…totally…different things, my friend. Taking him down, keeping him there and controlling / submitting him, is an even bigger task / problem.

        Brother, I think you need to go back to 185 and sit-on-that-egg called Anderson Silva and do more worrying about Weidman doing that, which you (now) prognosticate for the 170 Champ's future, to your beloved TD challenged Spider.

        Or to put it more bluntly…Silva / Weidman will happen. GSP / Maia may not.

        No one is going to out GSP, GSP. Johnny Hendricks might KO his ass, but that's about it. As much as I like Demian, there is but one reason, as a GSP fan, I wish to see that fight happen and it's because, that should GSP beat Diaz and Hendricks (should JH beat JE), Maia would be the last man in that division of true world-class quality and name value, who The Champ has not beaten. He would be a great name and fighter, to close-out the his storied career @ 170.

        Simply, I want Demian Maia's name for "The List".

        *Oddly, the only other name I'd consider, should he pull-off one or two more wins and against top ten or five guys, would be, Matt Brown. He's really come on of late. He's looked great in his last couple of fights. If he keeps it up, I'd wouldn't mind seeing GSP put his name on "The List", too.

        • Profile photo of Akordas

          Akordas

          February 5, 2013 at 1:22 am

          @onemorepound
          "Taking Fitch down and taking GSP down are two…totally…different things"
          I guess MMA truth already tried to takedown both of these guys so you he knows.

          • Profile photo of Brian Cox

            Brian Cox

            February 5, 2013 at 3:05 am

            @ OMR

            If, Akordas's "guess" is that I made that statement based on my own personal experience(s) of grappling or wrestling with either Fitch or GSP, then Akordas is very bad at guessing and he would be even worse at actuarial sciences. Hopefully, he's bright enough to figure out what I am suggesting, by the remark.

            Oh and OMR, please notice that he didn't preface the word "guess" with the word "educated".

            As usual, nice chatting with you OMR. :-)

  12. Profile photo of DKMcGrath

    DKMcGrath

    February 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Maia's taylor made to beat GSP,GSP has better timing takedowns striking…but I don't believe GSP will be able to resist taking Maia down witch I believe hell be subbed.Could be wrong but its exciting new challenge for the point champ..

  13. Profile photo of ripstic5021

    ripstic5021

    February 5, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Maia looked a whole weight class bigger and stronger than Jon Fitch. Are you kidding me? you have never seen Jon Fitch pushed to the mat so easily. He didn't have the slightest chance at winning that fight. Maia fighting like this is crazy I'd say the only top welterweights that can compete in size with Maia right now are Rory and GSP.

  14. Profile photo of Pride4Ever

    Pride4Ever

    February 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Maia vs Hendricks.. Do it!

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      February 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      @ Crush

      Can't see how that fight will happen. If Hendricks wins, he gets the next shot. If he loses, then Maia is more apt to get the winner of MacDonald / Condit. If he wins that, he's looking at a title shot. Dana, has pretty much said as much.

  15. Profile photo of codemaster

    codemaster

    February 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Fitch is a good wrestler–so fans think he has a great TDD, but BJ friggin' Penn took Fitch down. Maia's win over Fitch is not nearly as impressive as GSP's win over Fitch–GSP owned Fitch.

    If Maia does fight GSP, I don't see him taking GSP down. Maia's takedowns are not that good–and he mainly does so from the clinch. Maia does have size in the WW division, but GSP is strong, very strong.

    GSP will be able to take Maia down at will–but he may keep it standing–who knows? Maia's standup has improved–so he won't be a pushover standing.

    I hope to see this fight if GSP defeats Diaz and Hendricks–but I fear he may opt for a superfight or retire.

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