Maia renews emphasis on submissions
Like so many fighters before and after him, Maia failed to do a thing against the iconic middleweight champion. Splitting four fights over the next two years, including a lopsided decision loss to Chris Weidman in January 2010, Maia was propelled to shed 15 pounds and begin anew at welterweight.
“I needed to be reborn,” Maia said over the phone from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where he’ll meet Jon Fitch on Saturday during the pay-per-view portion of UFC 156. “I felt when I was hitting guys or going for a takedown at 185, sometimes it was like hitting a wall. Now in this weight division, it’s more fair for me.”
Competing at his natural weight (around 185 pounds on fight night) also has helped, as has a renewed emphasis on submissions.
“Now that I learned I’m able to do well with boxing, I was able to train more jiu-jitsu again,” he said. “I’ve come back to my grappling.”
A Demian Maia that is more interested in taking his opponents down and submitting rather than striking is a dangerous threat to any fighter at 170 lbs. He has looked fantastic so far at welterweight, and a decisive win over Jon Fitch this Saturday will only further launch him back into title contention.