Last week via Twitter, São Paulo Jiu-Jitsu teacher Demian Maia confirmed that his next fight in the UFC will be in the welterweight division. And his first challenge in his new division is already set: He’ll be taking on Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148, July 7 in Las Vegas. The South Korean has 15 wins in his 16-fight career.
The former middleweight, who once scored submission wins in five straight fights and challenged Anderson Silva for the divisional belt in a 2010 bout marred by controversy, spoke with GRACIEMAG.com about the move, explaining his rationale, expectations and left some lessons to benefit our readers.
“Truth is, I always was lighter than my opponents were. I’d weigh less than the other fighters in the division, which is why I always had an easy time making weight,” he began, showing how on the one hand he didn’t battle with the scale, but on the other he had to fight bigger opponents.
“THE TOUGHEST MATCH OF MY LIFE”
“Now I’m not going to have to lose so much weight; I’m just going to cut the same as everyone else does and perform better. I’m weighing 88.5 kilos (195 lbs) right now; I’ll keep at 86 kg and do what everyone else in the division does, which is to drop to 77 kg by fight time,” added Demian, who hopes to get his Jiu-Jitsu to flow in the new division.
“If you look back at my results from when I’d compete in Jiu-Jitsu and my first fights in the UFC, they were great. And I’d normally weigh 86 kilos at that time. It was the time when I came up with the best results. So I hope I can get back to imposing my Jiu-Jitsu again; the battle with the scale doesn’t scare me.”
A Jiu-Jitsu star with countless medals in the gi and a 2007 ADCC trophy, Demian looked back on his career highlights, comparing MMA and Jiu-Jitsu.
“All my wins in the UFC were excellent, and I will always cherish them. Just as I will the ones in Jiu-Jitsu, like winning the 2007 ADCC, in New Jersey, and the 2005 Copa do Mundo against Jacaré,” he elucidated.
“The ADCC final against [Flavio] Cachorrinho was a tough match, but I ended up catching his arm in a tricky hold after about eight minutes of fighting,” he recollected.
“Now in 2005, in the gi, I faced Jacaré at his peak, and to me it was the hardest match of my life. At the time he was considered the best Jiu-Jitsu fighter in the world. It was a good match and I won on points, by two advantages I think.”
Watch the match GRACIEMAG.com dug up from the treasure chest and leave your opinion. Will Demian Maia’s Jiu-Jitsu come back to the forefront once he settles in at welterweight?