Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Demian Maia is a throwback to the era when the best MMA fighters were specialists in a single style. While Maia's stand up game is looking stronger with each showing there is no secret what he intends to do when the fight hits the canvas. His efficiency is frightening and not only has Maia found victory in seven out of his nine UFC bouts but five of those wins have come by way of a submission finish. In the process he has claimed "Submission of the Night" bonuses four times which has only further solidified Maia as the most dominant Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in the sport of mixed martial arts.
In his most recent outing against Mario Miranda, Maia was given the opportunity to display a full range of skills as he outworked, outclassed and simply out performed his opponent in route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 118. The win brought Maia back on track after his now infamous bout against middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 112 and Maia will have to remain at the top of his game if he plans on getting past his next opponent. This Saturday he will face the always tenacious Kendall Grove at "The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 Finale" in Las Vegas Nevada . With the bout just days away I caught up with a focused Demian Maia for a quick update before he mixes it up with Grove at the Finale. In this Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview Maia talked about his game plan and how even the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in the sport has to keep his submission game sharp.
"Of course, of course," Maia answered when asked about continuing to strengthen his submission skills. "I did well in my first fights with my Jiu-Jitsu but I still need to train hard because everyday guys in the sport and in Brazil are learning something. So I still need to keep training my jiu-jitsu."
Maia will co-headline the main event when he takes on TUF winner Kendall Grove this Saturday night in Las Vegas . With his training camp complete I asked Maia how his camp had gone and how he is feeling heading into the bout with Grove.
"I feel great. I had a great training camp and I feel better than ever," Maia replied.
The last time Demian Maia entered the cage he faced Team Black House fighter Mario Miranda at UFC 118 in Boston . Maia was originally supposed to fight at UFC Fight Night 22 against Alan Belcher but an injury to Belcher forced him off of the card. The UFC then moved Maia to the Boston card where he faced Miranda, who was cornered by Anderson Silva, the fighter who had just defeated Maia in a five round spectacle at UFC 112. I asked Maia to share his thoughts on the Miranda fight and to comment on anything he took away from the fight.
"I know that sometimes during the fight I had some good chances right in front of me but I was trying too hard to control the fight. I need to not lose my patience and go a little bit more by my instincts," Maia responded.
Demian Maia has such a high level of jiu-jitsu that when the fight hits the ground there are few chances of escaping. Three out of his first five victories in the UFC ended in the first round but in the Miranda fight, Maia was unable to capitalize on several submission attempts.
"I always go in there looking for the submission but I think it would be disrespectful to my opponent for me to think that I'm going to go in there and submit everybody," Maia answered. "Everybody trains hard, nobody talks trash and they are all professionals. It's not easy...they are good and they are in the UFC because they are good."
This Saturday, December 4th Maia will step into the octagon with the always game Kendall Grove. The TUF winner is well known for bringing the fight to his opponent and for being able to showcase his skills wherever the fight may go. Grove, who is also coming off of a victory, would stand to gain solid ground in the division with a victory over Maia. When asked where he believed the fight would take place Maia replied, "I have been improving my stand up and my takedowns but my ground game is still my strongest point so of course I am going to try to find victory on the ground."
A win over Grove at the TUF Finale will keep Demian Maia towards the top of the heap and with several contenders coming up short in recent fights, contender status in the middleweight division could be one or two victories away.
"That something that I try not to think about," Maia replied. "A lot of guys ask me the same question but I try to just keep my mind on the fight. Even after the fight I try not to think about it. All I want is to keep fighting and winning."
Throughout our discussion Maia's focus was locked on the task at hand but when given the floor to close out the interview Maia showed what truly matters the most to him.
"The only thing I have to say is that it is because of the fans that I am able to fight. Their support for the UFC and for mixed martial arts is the best and when I go into the cage, for sure I go in and fight for them. I go in there for them every time and even if I can't get the submission or I don't do well I go in there with all my heart and do my best for the fans."