When Demian Maia entered the Octagon against Mario Miranda last weekend at UFC 118 he was no doubt looking to erase the public’s collective memory of his previous performance, a one-sided decision loss to Anderson Silva last April. The five-round shellacking was more notable for Silva’s bizarre antics than any offense offered up by the Jiu-Jitsu wiz and left a bad taste in more than a few mouths…Maia’s included.
However, rather than dwell on the negative, Maia instead chose to use the loss as motivation and as a result even received an additional boost of incentive to win against Miranda upon learning the UFC’s middleweight champ would be cornering his training partner at UFC 118.
Maia recently spoke with Brazilian publication Tatame to talk about “The Spider”, his fight against Miranda, and why he continues to focus on submission-grappling while training for opponents regardless of his reputation in the art.
When asked about Silva being alongside Miranda at the event, Maia replied, “I was glad when I knew he’d be on his corner because I knew it’d motivate me even more. All due respect to Mário, but I was glad when I heard that Anderson would be on his corner because I knew (it would) motivate me even more.”
And, though he expressed disappointment at his inability tap his foe out in Boston, Maia was also quick to give Miranda credit.
“Of course I’d like (the win) to be due to a submission, but he’s a very slippery guy on the ground…defended himself well…kept himself calm during the whole fight, even when was on a bad position – he’s a good athlete. His professional record already shows he’d be a hard one for everyone on this division. He’s only got one loss in twelve fights, so, for sure, he’d be harsh on everyone.”
The Brazilian also explained why a good portion of his training time is still spent polishing his Jiu-Jitsu even though it’s the skill he’s most known for based on his success on the tournament scene and his effortless submissions of a number of respected opponents in the ring. On the subject of whether or not his attempts to improve at striking had weakened his Jiu-Jitsu, Maia explained, “I don’t think so, not at all. I keep training a lot of Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t leave it aside… I don’t train only Jiu-Jitsu nowadays, but Jiu-Jitsu represents, at least, 50% of my technical training, so it’s a lot… “
“It’s much more than many people train. I believe I have to chance some things,” he continued. “I got easily on the mount, on his back and arm…. I got to the positions I wanted to. I trained and I felt like I evolved a lot and got to the positions I wanted to. There was only a final detail missing because, besides that, I felt comfortable on getting to the positions…. I trained a lot of Jiu-Jitsu for this fight.”
Maia is 13-2 as a professional with notable victories over Chael Sonnen, Jason MacDonald, and Dan Miller in his career. Eight of his wins have come by way of submission though his last two were the result of unanimous decisions.