Demian Maia did not rest on New Years. On February 6, the Jiu-Jitsu black belt faces Dan Miller at the UFC 109 in Las Vegas.
Working over the holidays is not something new for him, and the next fight is very important, since he is coming from his first defeat after 11 victories in a row. Demian talked to GRACIEMAG.com and commented on how his preparations are going for yet another challenge.
Are there any difficulties training hard during this holiday season (Christmas and New Years) when most use it to rest up?
It comes with the job. It’s a little hard to find people to train at the end of the year. People are training well here in São Paulo, but it’s not easy to gather everyone together around this time. This is what I wanted to do, so I have nothing to complain about. I have to fight and take my vacation later. When I chose this, I knew I’d have to relinquish many things. This time it was Christmas and New Years, and last year it was the same.
You worked especially hard to improve the striking part, after the knockout by Nathan Marquardt. How was the experience?
I was in Bahia and it was excellent. I also trained Jiu-Jitsu there, but mainly it was boxing and I was able to evolve a lot. I talked to (Rodrigo) Minotauro about the chance of training boxing in Cuba, and he said to work with Luis Dórea. We trained together, and he offered that I stay in his apartment. The guy (Minotauro) is fantastic and I’ve always liked him.
There was some controversy between you and Anderson Silva, with harsh statements made to the media. However, you are still good friends with the Nogueira brothers, who are friends with Anderson. How does that work?
I had trained with Rodrigo and with Rogério for some time, when I was a brown belt. I had a good relationship with them, but ended up distancing myself. They are close friends with Anderson and, as there was the chance of facing him had I won my last fight, I ended up staying away. As I don’t see a possibility of fighting Anderson so soon, this tie was renewed.
I talked to Minotauro about the chance of training boxing in Cuba” Demian Maia
And what about work in the US? Before the fights, you were also going through a training period there with Wanderlei Silva. Is this still going on?
I’m going to the US around two weeks before the fight. I’ll stay a week in San Diego with Minotauro, Minotouro, and Rafael Alejarra, who is my physical trainer and who now lives there. In the last week I’m going to Las Vegas, and there I’ll likely be with Wanderlei, where more maintenance work will be done.
Are you still training in gi for the MMA fights?
I was training in gi once a week, but now I train more without it, also because it’s hard to find people who train in gi this time of year. The people who come are there to help me. So we train without gi.
What lesson did you learn from your first defeat?
All defeats are lessons. I saw some mistakes I was making during training, even some psychological things, and I’m trying to improve.