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Jiu-jitsu will always be Demian Maia's bread and butter inside the Octagon. Scheduled to face Colby Covington at UFC Sao Paulo on Oct. 28, Maia made that very clear during a recent press appearance to promote the event.
"I think jiu-jitsu is still the mainstay of MMA," Maia said. "I thought about it when I saw (Floyd) Mayweather's (boxing) fight against (Conor) McGregor. [McGregor] lasted 10 rounds, but if it was Mayweather (in jiu-jitsu) against a blue belt or even a white belt with a year of training, he would have lost in a minute. I have no doubts (about that).
"All the martial acts were created in real fights, and then [these martial arts] were lost. And then when you get someone who rescues them and brings them back in a modern way, I like to see it. I prefer to see a specialist rather than someone who is just good at everything."
Maia's specialist skills have served him well over the years. With 19 UFC wins to his name, nine of them before the bell, Maia is now close to breaking two records within the promotion.
"There are two records that I would like to beat," Maia said. "One, to have the most wins in the UFC. I know I am second behind (Michael) Bisping right now along with one or two other people. And it is also my goal today to get a belt. While I'm fighting, I will be trying to get to the top, and if it doesn't work out, I'll leave MMA."
Being a part of the world's biggest MMA promotion since 2008, Maia has competed for a belt twice in the UFC: in 2010 against Anderson Silva and in July against Tyron Woodley. In both cases, the Brazilian ended up getting defeated by decision in rather unspectacular fights that were booed by fans.
However, in the latter title bout, an external factor made it difficult to seize the opportunity, according to Maia.
With little time to train after the Woodley fight was announced on somewhat of a short notice, the veteran said that he was unable to train wrestling in the U.S. during the four weeks of preparation that he got.
"[For the upcoming Covington fight,] I have twice as much time in advance of the fight compared to the one against Woodley," Maia said. "I was notified about a month before that fight. This time, I was approached with more than two months to go, and this one month makes all the difference.
"The idea is to do part of my wrestling camp during that time. Coincidence or not, the last seven fights, I only lost once, and it was precisely that time when I didn't train there. As an analyst, I realize that it makes a difference in details in my takedowns and takedown defense. And it's these small things that are difficult even for me to see."
Demian Maia: A Proud Specialist, Ready For Colby Covington
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