At 1.83 meters (6′) tall, Demian Maia is getting ready to deal with the reach of the 1.99-meter (6’5”) Kendall Grove. The fight is set to take place December 4 at the grand finale of the twelfth season of the “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, and to get around his opponent’s spindly arms and legs, Demian sought out taller training partners, among them Brazilian national No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu champion Antonio Peinado, of team Alliance.
Check out the GRACIEMAG.com interview with Demian:
Do you think Grove’s height will make things rough on you?
It may hinder or may help. Truth is that it’s something different. Só I’m training with taller people and taking the opportunity to adapt to it. But I don’t feel it’ll be harder or easier, just different.
And who are these tall sparring partners you brought in to help you?
Ednaldo Lula, who fights in the WFE promotion, is helping me. He is over two meters tall. But I also called on Batista, Antonio Peinado, who just won the Brazilian No-Gi Nationals. He’s going to help me. He’s not quite as tall as Kendall, but he’s really tall and long-limbed. I also have some tall students who are helping me out.
Are you still training in the USA?
I was in the United States, where I trained wrestling for a couple of weeks, but I’m aready back in Brazil. Now I’m heading to Bahia.
If I’m not mistaken, in Bahia you do a lot of boxing training. Do you end up neglecting your main weapon, Jiu-Jitsu, a bit?
Truth is that in Bahia here are a lot of good guys to train Jiu-Jitsu with. As the guys there are not on this Rio/São Paulo axis, they’re not so well known. But there are really good grapplers over there. And Antonio Peinado’s going with me specifically to help me out with that. He’s first-rate.
What do you have to watch out for in you next fight? What are Kendall’s strengths?
I’m going to take a better look at him. There are specific things that I want to work on, but I’d rather not comment. The main this just that I have to watch out for his stature, to adapt to that. He’s got good Jiu-Jitsu and muay thai and I’m going to avoid surprises.