With a renewed emphasis on grappling, Demian Maia looks to submit Jon Fitch early on


Brazilian jiujitsu ace Demian Maia is on a roll as of late, having finished two opponents in a row following his move down to 170. Those wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Rick Story brought Maia back to his original top skillset of grappling and have earned him a shot at perennial Welterweight contender Jon Fitch at UFC 156 on Saturday. Maia had begun to stagnate at Middleweight even though he was a onetime title challenger.

He was criticized for looking more gassed than Chris Weidman at UFC on Fox 2 last year, even though his opponent had taken the fight on short notice and cut upwards of 45 lbs. to make the bout. After that lackluster decision loss, Maia decided it was time for a change, revealing the following to ESPN:

“I needed to be reborn. I felt when I was hitting guys or going for a takedown at 185, sometimes it was like hitting a wall. Now in this weight division, it’s more fair for me.” 

Indeed, many MMA fans and journalists found it continously perplexing to see Maia turn his bouts into kickboxing matches, an area where he decidely held no advantage. True, he needed to up his standup game to hang with the top dogs, but he was apparently abandoning his true area of expertise in BJJ. Now, he says he’s gone full-circle back to his roots:

“Now that I learned I’m able to do well with boxing, I was able to train more jiu-jitsu again. I’ve come back to my grappling.” 

Sounds like a great gameplan for Maia, but it will cause some headaches for the rest of the Welterweight division. Maia knows that Jon Fitch is one of the best wrestlers at 170, and is also very resilient and seemingly impossible to submit. Still, that will not stop Maia from attempting to use his world-class BJJ skills to end the fight early on Saturday night. He declared his intentions fully:

“My dream is to take the fight down in the first minute and submit Fitch. That’s my dream and I hope it comes true.” 

Doing that would truly be a sight to behold at the ultra-stacked UFC 156 card. It will be a classic matchup of elite wrestler versus elite grappler, in a bout that will be absolutely pivotal for each fighter’s career. This fight has not been talked about on a huge level this week, but make no mistakes, as it serves as very important fight in a very talented division. Can the newly reinvented Demian Maia submit the always gritty Jon Fitch?

  • I am really looking forward to this bout. If it goes to the ground and Maia can submit Fitch…wow, to that. It also would put Maia on a fight path with GSP, which is something I wouldn't mind seeing before GSP leaves 170 and the more I hear him talk about not fighting MacDonald, the more I'm convinced that this is The Champ's last year @ 170. If he were to fight and beat, Diaz, Hendricks and the winner of Fitch / Maia…really, what else would there be to prove, other than his friend, Rory MacDonald and both are adamant that that's not going to happen. So, an educated guess leaves me believing two or three more fights, tops, if he really wants to clean out his division and he's done.

    As GSP has already beaten Fitch and if the clock is running on The Champ's departure from the division, then I'd like to see one of those fights spent on Maia. So, as much as I like and love JF and for the grater glory of UFC history and the 170 division, I'll be pulling for Demian.

    Win or lose, this should be a great fight. And if Maia does lose, GSP / Fitch 2 wouldn't be a bad bout, either.

    • It's definitely a VERY exciting time for the Welterweight division.

      Never seen soo many legitimate threats to GSP's title surface at the same time.

      • @ Bryan

        It certainly is, but GSP can't fight them all and I'd put money on the fact that Rush won't fight MacDonald. So, sooner or later he either has to leave, retire or RM has to move up, but the clock is running on that showdown, should both continue to win.

        Literally, push-must-come-to-shove soon @ 170, for The Champ and his friend. I really do believe he will pack-it-in @ 170 before 2014.

        Hey, you've got you're S-X-SW show coming up, soon. Hope you post video of the trip.

    • I don't think he will leave 170 , he's small for a middleweight and too big for a lightweight IMO

      • @ Cam

        Either way….@ 170, something has to give. If he keeps on winning and MacDonald does the same, how much long can they play the….I won't fight my team-mate / friend, game? My guess is, less than 12 months, unless GSP departs the division. Under no circumstances can they avoid each other. The only way to avoid that showdown, is for GSP to vacate the title….as Champ…as planed.

        GSP / MacDonald will never happen. Something will have to give, should both keep winning. And it will have to happen this year. All I'm saying.

    • I would love to see Maia face GSP, might be the only time we see someone pull guard against the champ. It's still impossible to pick anyone at WW over GSP but Maia certainly brings a unique challenge to him. That being said this fight with Fitch is a toss up in my mind, looking forward to it for sure.

    • Maia doesn't stand a chance against GSP. there is no way he could take him down and GSPs striking is too good for Maia

    • Tell them to get in line. GSP has Diaz and Hendricks at least before Fitch or Maia or MacDonald such is the depth of the WW division. It's testament to how good GSP is that he still wears gold in that division.

  • I will be surprised if Fitch makes it out of the first round. If he makes it out of the second, I will poop my pants!

  • I'm really looking forward to seeing Maia sub that wrestler.

    The future WW champ is here to stay.

  • So what Maia means " I haven't trained for three rounds"

  • There are ground fighters and there are genius ground fighters, maia is like jimmy hendrix there is only one and nobody knows how he does it but every time its like poetry. He is a goddamn human python 1st rnd mounted triangle.