Demian Maia returned to his winning ways at UFC 118, with a unanimous decision over Mario Miranda. The black belt, in a conversation with GRACIEMAG.com, explains why he was so close to the tapout, but couldn’t manage to get his opponent to quit. In the following interview, Demian also comments on how Anderson Silva, the man to beat him in his penultimate fight, was in his opponent’s corner.
Check out the chat:
Your opponent was switched for Mario Miranda. What did you think of him?
It ended up not being Alan Belcher, but he was an opponent up to par, as his record shows. He’s tall, well-rounded, very hard to finish. He’s strong for his weight and I feel it was a good return fight for me. Thank God it all worked out and I managed to do what I trained to do.
What was missing for you to get the tapout in the fight, since you were so close to it so many times?
First, he defends really well, and in really sticky situations, where you have to defend taking blows. Sport Jiu-Jitsu is one thing, MMA is really different. He defended really well in difficult positions. I didn’t try to finish him from his back that much and I think I could have been more incisive there. Now I tried to get his arm several times, but he really did escape. It’s something I need to fix, but credit to him, too.
What may be next for you in the UFC?
Things are all mixed up at this weight (middleweight). At this weight, in my 15 fights, I only have two losses and to excellent athletes. I feel it’s a bit of an illusion thinking dropping weight will be easier. Who knows, I might try it out some day, but I’m not stuck on that. But for the time being, I don’t intend to.
With Anderson in his corner, it just made me more determined to win,” Demian
Anderson was in Mario’s corner. Did you two speak? Did it add any emotion for you during the fight?
I don’t speak with him nor do I have a relationship with him. We greet each other normally, but we have no personal rapport. I respect, above all, the fighter who faced me. Mario Miranda is an excellent athlete and seems to be a good person. Now with Anderson in his corner, it just made me more determined to win.
What did you think of Anderson’s submission of Chael Sonnen, that double attack from the triangle, in pure Jiu-Jitsu style?
That’s Jiu-Jitsu for you. It’s the martial art Brazil created for the world and those who train all the time will have a card up their sleeve. I think he’s a smart guy, because he trains Jiu-Jitsu.