This isn’t new for Demian Maia. He has seen it all before. Back in 2010, Maia was able to beat Dan Miller to earn a shot at the UFC middleweight title. Heading into his title shot, Maia had only lost once in his career — to Nate Marquardt.
Though he was defeated by Anderson Silva, he still remained relevant in the division until he eventually lost to contenders Mark Munoz and now champion Chris Weidman. Then Maia decided it was time for a change.
Now, three years and five months removed from his middleweight title fight, Maia finds himself in prime position to be challenging for the welterweight strap. Since moving down in weight, Maia has looked spectacular in each of his three fights.
Though he defeated Dong Hyun Kim because Kim was suffering from a rib injury, the fight still goes in the win column for Maia. Against Rick Story, Maia stuck to his opponent like glue and finished Story with a rear naked choke that caused blood to rush from Story’s nose. He beat Jon Fitch by unanimous decision after controlling the fight in its entirety.
We have also seen Maia go back to his bread and butter, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, since moving down to welterweight. The fact is he’s just stronger than most fighters in the division and has been using that power to control fighters.
A win against Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 29, a fighter who has won three of his six fights with one no contest since moving to the UFC, could be what Maia needs to gain some respect from UFC matchmakers. Though he ranks no. 4 in the UFC rankings, Maia has yet to fight a top-10 opponent besides Fitch, who has found himself on hard times since that loss.
If he beats Shields, a fight against the likes of Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger or even Martin Kampmann would go a long way in getting Maia a shot at welterweight king Georges St-Pierre.