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Demian Maia: “If you think like a white belt, you can keep getting better.”

While Demian Maia may be primarily known for his elite-level submission skills there’s no question the 34-year old grappler has shown marked improvement as a striker in his last few fights, the most recent of which involved a decision win over Jorge Santiago at UFC 136.

Maia credits his mindset and love of boxing with the evolution in his game, an increasingly balanced attack he hopes to display against Chris Weidman on Saturday night at UFC on FOX 2. The 15-3 BJJ blackbelt discussed the situation where he explained he often removes ego from the equation and embraces challenges head on.

“For me, it’s not hard because I love what I do and I love to fight,” revealed Maia in a conversation with the UFC’s website. “I love boxing also, and not just jiu-jitsu, so whenever you do something that you love, it’s never hard work. Of course the training and everything is tough, but what I do I like very much and when you’re like that I think you develop very well.”

The Brazilian feels his attitude towards striking is one some of his peers could benefit from as well.

“I see some guys that are standup fighters and they’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for many years and they’re still not so good, and there are some jiu-jitsu guys that do standup for many years and they’re not so good, and the key is that they don’t like the other style,” said Maia. “Sometimes they don’t like to train other styles and sometimes they don’t like to go from being the best at what they do to learning something else and there’s an ego involved there. If you think like a white belt, you can keep getting better. And when I decide to do something, I know that I will do it hard and I will get it.”

See how his humility pays off this weekend when he meets Weidman in the opener of the 8:00 PM EST broadcast on FOX.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC