Demian Maia is possibly the best all round grappler fighting in Mixed Martial Arts today and we don't make this statement lightly. Using his classic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style to dominate his foe's since moving down to welterweight in 2012 he has went to 9-2 running through top UFC contenders such as Gunnar Nelson and Matt Brown. In his arguably most impressive performance against former UFC interim champion Carlos Condit when he dragged Carlos to the mat sliced through his guard and took his back attaining a rear naked choke in a sublime display of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prowess finishing the fight inside the first round.
Maia's next fight comes this weekend at UFC 212 against top Welterweight contender Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal
in a battle of the two best guys in the 170lb division, the winner will most definatley get the next shot at champion Tyron Woodley which in itself is the classic and in this case very interesting Striker vs Grappler match up with Maia's path to victory clear. Just as in all of his fights he will look to take Jorge to the mat and dominate where as Masvidal will want to use his slick boxing looking for a KO finish. Whilst Masvidal can fight effectively both going forwards or on the backfoot he also has very good defensive wrestling but whether it be enough to keep the Boa constrictor that is Demian Maia is another question entirely.
Our good friend and training partner BJJ world champion Purple belt Henrique Garcez
has been out in Sao Paulo training at the Demian Maia academy training with Demian and UFC & Pride FC legend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Myself & Henrique spoke in depth about Demian's style and what he kept coming back to was how good his timing is to get the clinch & how incredibly strong he was once he entered into that phase of the fight. You can see it for yourself in pretty much every recent Maia fight and the fight that stands out in my mind is his domination of Gunnar Nelson widely regarded as one of the UFC's best grapplers within the welterweight division. Maia controlled and then dominated in every ground position against Gunnar. If you have ever rolled with Gunnar you might understand how difficult (seemingly impossible that is) and considering that since that fight Gunnar himself has been on fire taking out Albert Tumenov & Alan Jouban both in impressive fashion which in turn only makes Maia's win look even more impressive.
In my opinion if Maia can get past Masivdal we very well could be looking at the next UFC Welterweight champion watching Demian Maia bring the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu philosophy back into the main stream of MMA and showing the new generation of MMA fans who are maybe paying too much attention to the Conor Mcgregor/WWE style promo that a quiet polite guy like Demian Maia can dominate using the path of the least resistance. In many ways Maia reminds me of Rickson Gracie back in the day coming up against everyone taking on all contenders with the mind set of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being the dominant art in the crazy game of unarmed combat.