The world of mixed martial arts offers the beloved quick knockout and the intense drawn out war, but what is currently overlooked or forgotten is the way of the submission via Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Look no further than top UFC welterweight contender Demian Maia when it comes to masterfully twisting limbs and disrupting the oxygen cycle.
Maia, at 38 years of age is riding a six fight win streak with his last loss coming in early 2014 against Rory MacDonald. In fact the only losses Maia has as a welterweight came against Jake Shields and MacDonald via decision. His record at welterweight stands at 8-2, but the matter in which he earned his latest four victories is what has gotten him so much attention.
Maia dominated Gunnar Nelson on the mat in route to a unanimous decision last March, submitted Neil Magny in under eight minutes, controlled and submitted Matt Brown in May and most recently submitted Carlos Condit in under two minutes in August.
Maia appears to be getting better with age as his opponents have struggled in finding an answer for his superior grappling. While Stephen “Wonderboy ” Thompson is slated to compete for the welterweight title at UFC 205, there is no question that Maia is next in line and further presents an interesting match up against either Woodley or Thompson. Woodley possesses dangerous one punch knockout power and relentless wrestling while Thompson owns deadly accurate kickboxing and karate skills you’d find in a movie.
The Brazilian native has somewhat etched himself amongst the creme de la creme of the division unexpectedly. The sudden rise to prominence and his lack of a brash personality hasn’t done him many favors in gaining notoriety, however he has gotten the attention of one of MMA’s biggest stars.
Georges “Rush” St Pierre mentioned Maia as a potential opponent he’d favor in a return to the sport after a three year hiatus. The potential matchup presents a clash of styles between wrestling and jiu jitsu and could lead to a nice pay day for the deserving Maia. Ever the gentleman, Maia expressed gratitude towards GSP’s consideration but kindly declined in favor of a title shot. Maybe we’ll see the two match up in the near future.
One interesting element in Maia’s current run is the little amount of damage he’s taken in these affairs. Maia has done an excellent job in extending his career in dominant fashion. The Jiu Jitsu master has drawn comparison to Royce Gracie in how he managed to be one step ahead of the competition in one particular aspect of combat, which was enough to succeed. Maia can certainly hold his own in the stand up, but the sudden air of invincibility has given him a psychological advantage over his opponents who seem to accept the fact that it’s likely they’ll have to fight off submission attempt after submission attempt when they step inside the octagon against him.
This seemed to be the case in his most recent victories against Matt Brown and Carlos Condit, who like Woodley and Thompson are recognized as striker friendly athletes. Demian Maia has proven that it’s never too late to make a title run and that we shouldn’t be too quick in writing off fighters who appear past their prime.