The mere mention of his name is enough to thrill ground combat aficionados. The Brazilian fighter, who rose to the rank of superstar in the grappling community, has etched his place into the current MMA landscape.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Maia began training in judo as a child from the age of four until he was six.
When he reached his teens, he began studying Kung Fu and Karate. By age nineteen, Maia was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by his cousin. Four years and seven months’ practice later, Demian received his black belt. He’s a fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has won several major tournaments with Team Brasa.
Where all the top fighters strive to be as complete as possible, Maia is fully satisfied to exploit his grappling gifts. Where many fighters with a sound ground combat background have struggled in vain to become poor kickboxers, Demian Maia (citing Royce Gracie and Rickson Gracie as his MMA inspirations and heroes) has taken the opposite course and draws his strength from his martial origins. He’s never lost a fight by submission.
Curious to find out more about this gifted grappler? Then follow on as we countdown Demian Maia’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Neil Magny — UFC 190 (Aug. 1, 2015)
- Vs. Ed Herman — UFC 83 (April 19, 2008)
- Vs. Carlos Condit — UFC on Fox 21 (Aug. 27, 2016)
- Vs. Chael Sonnen — UFC 95 (Feb. 21, 2009)
- Vs. Lyman Good — UFC Fight Night 144 (Feb. 2, 2019)
Demian Maia was here coming off a loss by unanimous decision against Rory MacDonald, but this bout would herald a long-running 7-win streak.
The Brazilian took Magny down with almost scary ease in the early goings of the first round, and quickly advanced to a top mount position.
Anyone who’s ever seen Maia fight before knows that that’s not a good sign. While Magny would survive the first round, the second was very similar, with the exception of a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Maia earned a Performance of the Night bonus with this win.
In the first round, Herman blocked a headkick and Maia shot for a double-leg trying to pull Herman off guard. Herman avoided getting into the clinch and kept on defending Maia’s single-leg takedown attempts. Herman did a good job of pounding in under with hammerfists but Maia managed to slam him down into half-guard.
In the second round, Maia shot a kick to the shoulder, which Herman avoided, and Maia pulled guard, but Herman stood to the clinch getting a decent takedown to guard.
Maia nearly got a decent sweep in but Herman avoided it to get back on top into guard. Later in the round, Maia threw up a triangle choke, Herman dodged it and again got back on top into guard. Maia threw up another triangle choke. This one locked in. Herman refused to tap then started sleeping before the referee called the contest at 2 minutes 27 seconds.
Here Demian Maia (24-6) delivered a fresh submission move against an emerging big name in the welterweight division who got squashed under the power of the Brazilian.
Carlos Condit was defeated in his title shot against Robbie Lawler last January. Carlos, aka ‘The Natural Born Killer’, unfortunately found that his striking skills couldn’t quite find a home here.
Maia’s first successful takedown attempt took place in the first initial seconds. He wrapped himself around Condit so tightly showing absolutely no intention of releasing the hold on his prey.
This expeditious strangling victory confirmed his return to the fore and a potential title shot. According to FightMetric, the Brazilian had only dealt out 13 hits in his last 4 fights, just going to show how great Demian Maia’s grappling is!
In the opening round, Maia landed a body kick, which Sonnen caught, shoving Maia down but also letting him up. Later in the round, Maia got a double underhook in on the ground.
Sonnen stood up and Maia landed a jab from below. Sonnen stood up and let Maia up. Sonnen then landed a good one-two combination. They clinched, followed by Maia getting the throw takedown to full mount. Maia locked things up with a tight triangle choke forcing Sonnen to tap.
Prior to this bout, Demian came off a 3-loss skid against 3 top welterweight fighters: Tyron Woodley (former undisputed UFC champion), Colby Covington (former interim champion) and Kamaru Usman (current champion).
The less than three-minute fight was all Maia’s. The Brazilian didn’t allow Good to land a single strike in the contest before he got on Good’s back and finishing the job with a standing, rear-naked choke.
Although it wasn’t Good’s first career loss, it was arguably his highest-profile one.