Demian Maia

Demian Maia (born 6 November 1977) is a Brazilian professional submission grappler and mixed martial artist. He currently fights as a Welterweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Maia is regarded as one of the greatest grapplers in MMA history.[5] He has competed in two UFC title fights, losing against Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship in 2010 and losing against Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Championship in 2017. As of January 25, 2021, he is #8 in the UFC welterweight rankings.[6]

Demian Maia
Demian Maia.jpg
Maia at the weigh-ins for UFC 131
BornDemian Maia
(1977-11-06) 6 November 1977 (age 43)
São Paulo, Brazil
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
DivisionMiddleweight (2005–2011)
Welterweight (2012–present)
Reach72 in (180 cm)[1]
StyleBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
TeamDemian Maia Jiu-Jitsu
Rank5th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[2]
Years active2001, 2005–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission14
By decision11
By knockout2
By decision8
UniversityCásper Líbero
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record
Representing  Brazil
Men's Submission Wrestling
ADCC World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 Newark -88kg[3]
Silver medal – second place 2005 Los Angeles -88kg[4]
Men's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
World Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Silver medal – second place 2001 Rio de Janeiro -88kg (Brown)
Gold medal – first place 2000 Rio de Janeiro -88kg (Purple)
Silver medal – second place 1999 Rio de Janeiro -82kg (Blue)


Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Maia trained in Judo as a child. He began at the age of four and trained until he was six. When he became a teenager, he also began studying Kung Fu and Karate. By age nineteen, Maia was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by his cousin. After four years and seven months, Demian received his black belt.[7] Demian Maia finished college and graduated with a degree in Journalism.[8] He is currently a fifth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has won several major tournaments under Team Brasa. Maia has previously credited a three-hour private lesson he once took with Rickson Gracie as one of the moments that had the biggest impact on his approach to Jiu-Jitsu, and changed it entirely.[9]

He won the 77–87 kg weight division at the 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, defeating Yushin Okami, Rafael Lovato, and Tarsis Humphres before armbarring Flavio Almeida in the finals. He also won the 2007 Super Challenge under 83 kg belt, defeating Vitelmo Kubis Bandeira by rear naked choke and Gustavo Machado by a judges decision before going on to defeat Fabio Negao by guillotine choke in the finals. On the heels of his ADCC Championship in 2007, Maia released an instructional DVD series titled The Science of Jiu Jitsu I & II in collaboration with the World Martial Arts company.

Maia's grappling prowess is so highly regarded among MMA fighters that noted heavyweight submission artist and fellow BJJ black belt Frank Mir hired him as his head jiu-jitsu coach prior to his UFC 100 title fight with Brock Lesnar. Mir credits Maia with bringing Mir's jiu-jitsu skills to different levels, saying "I thought I was actually good at it until I started rolling with him."[10]

Maia has also defeated top-ranked UFC middleweight and multiple-time Mundial champion Ronaldo "Jacaré" Souza,[11] as well as former UFC heavyweight title challenger and Mundial champion Gabriel Gonzaga twice in grappling competition.[12][13]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

On 21 September 2001, fought against Raul Sosa at Tormenta en el Ring in Caracas, Venezuela. Maia defeated Sosa by TKO in just 48 seconds to win his MMA debut. After a four year layoff, he returned to submit Lukasz Chewlicki by armbar at The Cage Vol. 4 – Redemption. Maia next competed at Super Challenge 1, earning three victories in one night to be crowned the 2007 Super Challenge Champion in the under-83 kg division. In 2007, he competed in GFC – Evolution against Ryan Stout. Early in the first round, Stout's shoulder popped out of its socket after Maia reversing him into a mount, causing a stoppage due to injury.[14]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

It was reported on 7 August 2007, that Maia had signed a contract with the UFC.[15] He was originally matched against veteran Marvin Eastman, but Eastman pulled out due to eye surgery.[16] Ryan Jensen, who trained with Team Quest, was named as his replacement. The preliminary bout took place on 20 October at UFC 77 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Maia won by rear naked choke in the first round and was awarded the Submission of the Night award, which paid him an extra $40,000.

Maia next fought TUF 3 finalist Ed Herman, another Team Quest fighter, at UFC 83 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on 19 April 2008. Maia defeated Herman by technical submission due to a mounted triangle choke at 2:27 of the second round. He again earned Submission of the Night honors for the victory, which paid him $75,000.[17]

Maia's third fight was at UFC 87 where he took on fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jason MacDonald. Both fighters entered the cage having won back-to-back Submission of the Night honors in the UFC. Maia went on to defeat MacDonald by rear naked choke at 2:44 of the third round,[18] earning $60,000 for another Submission of the Night bonus.[19] With this award he became the first UFC fighter to earn three consecutive Submissions of the Night awards.[20] His four consecutive dominating submissions in the UFC have quickly brought his skills to the forefront as possibly being the best pure grappler in the UFC.[21]

Maia defeated heavy handed striker Nate Quarry at UFC 91 by rear naked choke in the first round.[22] After the fight, Maia expressed interest in fighting Michael Bisping next.

Instead, Maia would take on WEC standout and future UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen in London, England at UFC 95 on 21 February 2009.[23] During the match, Maia tossed Sonnen over his head using a lateral drop takedown, taking Sonnen to the ground, where Maia immediately achieved mount. Maia then transitioned to a triangle choke, forcing Sonnen to tap at 2:24 of the first round. Maia's next opponent was former title contender Nate Marquardt at UFC 102 on 29 August. During an exchange of strikes, Maia was knocked out by a straight right hand from Marquardt 21 seconds into the fight, resulting in his first career loss.

Maia faced Dan Miller on 6 February 2010, at UFC 109. Maia won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 29–28, and 29–28).[24]

Middleweight Championship fightEdit

After Vitor Belfort had to pull out of his upcoming match with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva at UFC 112 due to a shoulder injury suffered in training, Maia was selected to fill the spot and take Silva on for the belt in what would be the UFC's first ever open-air event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[25]

In the first two rounds, Silva appeared to mock his opponent, while also executing quick, precise striking. In the third round, however, Silva's tempo seemed to change and looked to Maia to be the aggressor of the fight while he largely circled and taunted his opponent. In the fifth round, Silva's lack of action prompted referee Dan Miragliotta to warn Silva for his conduct and the crowd began to side with Maia.[26] After 5 rounds, Silva was declared the winner via unanimous decision.

Silva was criticised for his performance, with Dana White saying that it was the most embarrassed he has ever been since becoming UFC president.[27] Midway through the fourth round, White walked away and gave the championship belt to Silva's manager, Ed Soares, as he was so annoyed that he did not want to place the belt around Silva's waist personally.[28] It was also claimed that Silva verbally insulted Maia during the fight.[29]

Post Title FightEdit

Maia was then expected to fight Alan Belcher on 15 September 2010, at UFC Fight Night 22.[30] However, on 1 August 2010, Belcher withdrew from the fight after undergoing emergency eye surgery for a detached retina. Belcher stated on his Twitter account that he started to lose the vision in his right eye while in Brazil.[31] As a result, Maia was also pulled from the event[32] and faced Mario Miranda on 28 August 2010, at UFC 118.[33] Maia defeated Mario Miranda via unanimous decision.

Maia faced Kendall Grove on 4 December 2010, at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.[34] where he won by unanimous decision.

Maia faced Mark Muñoz on 11 June 2011, at UFC 131,[35] where he lost a close contest by unanimous decision.

Maia defeated Jorge Santiago on 8 October 2011, at UFC 136 by unanimous decision.[36]

Maia was expected to face Michael Bisping on 28 January 2012, at UFC on Fox 2.[37] However, Bisping replaced an injured Mark Muñoz on the same card against Chael Sonnen, while Maia faced undefeated Chris Weidman at the event. Weidman defeated Maia via unanimous decision.[38] The fight was initially announced as a split decision but the judges actually scored it as a unanimous decision, clarified by UFC President Dana White in a tweet.[39]

Drop to welterweightEdit

After deciding to drop to the 170 pound division, Maia faced Dong Hyun Kim in a welterweight bout on 7 July 2012, at UFC 148.[40] The bout was stopped in forty-seven seconds by referee Mario Yamasaki, after Maia took Kim down and finished him with strikes from the mounted position.[41] UFC commentator Joe Rogan said that Kim had broken a rib, but it was later revealed that he suffered a major muscle spasm.[42]

Maia fought Rick Story on 13 October 2012, at UFC 153.[43] Maia defeated Story via first round submission due to a neck crank.

Maia next faced Jon Fitch on 2 February 2013, at UFC 156.[44] He dominated the former title challenger for all three rounds, earning a lopsided unanimous decision victory with all three judges scoring the fight 30–27. Maia credited B.J. Penn and his gameplan against Fitch at UFC 127, which Maia admitted he emulated to earn his victory.[45]

Maia was expected to face Josh Koscheck on 3 August 2013, at UFC 163.[46] However, Koscheck was forced out of the bout with an injury and as a result, Maia was pulled from the card as well.[47]

For his fourth fight at welterweight, Maia faced Jake Shields on 9 October 2013, at UFC Fight Night 29.[48] As expected, the contest between the two decorated jiu-jitsu practitioners took place mostly on the ground with Maia losing a split decision.[49]

Maia faced Rory MacDonald at UFC 170 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 22 February 2014.[50] He lost the fight via unanimous decision. Despite the loss, the bout won Maia his first Fight of the Night bonus award.[51]

Maia was expected to face Mike Pierce on 31 May 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale.[52] However Pierce had to pull out of the fight due to a broken hand.[53] Pierce was replaced by UFC newcomer Alexander Yakovlev.[54] Maia won the fight via unanimous decision.

Maia was expected to face Mike Pyle on 23 August 2014, at UFC Fight Night 49.[55] However he later came down with a staph infection and was forced to pull out of the bout.[56] It was later revealed that Maia's infection had spread to the bone leading to osteomyelitis in his right clavicle.[57]

Maia faced Ryan LaFlare on 21 March 2015, in the main event at UFC Fight Night 62.[58] Maia won the fight by unanimous decision.[59]

Maia faced Neil Magny on 1 August 2015, at UFC 190. He won the fight via submission with a rear-naked choke in the second round and was awarded a Performance of the Night bonus.[60][61]

Maia was briefly linked to a fight with Gunnar Nelson on 24 October 2015, at UFC Fight Night 76, but the bout did not materialize for that event as Maia was sidelined with a staph infection on his left leg.[62] The bout eventually took place on 12 December 2015, at UFC 194.[63] Maia won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–25, and 30–25).[64]

Maia faced off against Matt Brown on 14 May 2016, at UFC 198.[65] He won the fight via submission in the third round.[66]

Maia next faced Carlos Condit on 27 August 2016, in the main event at UFC on Fox 21. He dominated the fight after quickly getting Condit to the ground and finishing with a rear-naked choke.[67]

Maia faced Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 on 13 May 2017. Maia was able to takedown Masvidal repeatedly and control him on the ground. He won the fight via split decision.[68]

Welterweight Title Fight and beyondEdit

After amassing a seven-fight win streak at welterweight, Maia faced Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on 29 July 2017, in the co-main event at UFC 214.[69] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[70]

Maia faced Colby Covington on 28 October 2017, at UFC Fight Night 119.[71] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[72]

Maia was tabbed as an injury replacement (filling in for Santiago Ponzinibbio) and faced Kamaru Usman on 19 May 2018 at UFC Fight Night 129[73] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[74]

Maia faced Lyman Good on 2 February 2019 at UFC Fight Night 144.[75] He won the fight via a standing rear-naked choke submission in the first round, becoming the first person to finish Good in his MMA career.[76]

Maia faced Anthony Rocco Martin on 29 June 2019 at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. dos Santos.[77] He won the fight via majority decision.[78]

Maia faced Ben Askren on 26 October 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 20.[79] He won the grappling affair via submission in round three.[80] This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.[81]

Maia faced Gilbert Burns on March 14, 2020 at UFC Fight Night 170.[82] He lost the fight via technical knockout in round one.[83]

Maia is scheduled to face Belal Muhammad on June 12, 2021 at UFC 263.[84]

Fighting styleEdit

Maia's fighting style is built around his exceptional abilities on the ground, where he has been able to dominate his opponents. Maia has been called the best ground-fighter in the UFC on multiple occasions. Maia uses double and single leg takedowns as well as trips to advance to a dominant position and soften his opponent up with ground and pound, waiting for an opening for a submission. On the ground, Maia prefers to take the back mount, where he will look for a rear-naked choke. In bottom position, Maia uses single legs to sweep almost exclusively, and was able to sweep Gunnar Nelson repeatedly with his single leg. Maia is also confident enough in his striking to close the distance and initiate takedowns. To date, Maia has never been submitted in an MMA bout.[85]

Personal lifeEdit

Maia's mother is of Russian ancestry.[86] He has a wife named Renata, who works for a Brazilian magazine.[87] Maia listed UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie as his inspiration to begin an MMA career, but lists Royce's brother Rickson Gracie as his primary hero.[88] Maia speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English.

In 2020, Maia opened a new academy in São Paulo, which also includes a jiu-jitsu museum.[89]

Brazilian jiu-jitsu lineageEdit

Mitsuyo "Count Koma" MaedaCarlos Gracie, Sr.Helio GracieRolls Gracie → Rehan Mohamed → Romero "Jacare" CavalcantiFabio Gurgel → Demian Maia

Championships and achievementsEdit

Grappling credentialsEdit

  • ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships
  • Pan American Championships
  • CBJJ World Championships
    • 2001 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 2nd Place
    • 2000 Purple Belt Medio-Pesado: 1st Place
    • 1999 Blue Belt Medio: 2nd Place
  • CBJJ Brazilian Championships
    • 2006 Black Belt Absolute: 2nd Place & Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 3rd Place
    • 2002 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 3rd Place
    • 2001 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 1st Place & Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 3rd Place
  • CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships
    • 2003 Brown/Black Pesada: Master, 1st Place
    • 2002 Brown/Black Pesada: Alliance, 2nd Place
    • 2001 Brown/Black Pesada: Alliance, 1st Place
    • 2000 Purple Belt Pesada: Alliance, 1st Place
  • CBJJO Copa Del Mundo (World Cup)
    • 2005 −85 kg Black Belt: 1st Place
    • 2003 Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 3rd Place & Black Belt Absolute: 1st Place
    • 2002 Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 1st Place & Black Belt Absolute: 2nd Place

Mixed martial artsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
38 matches 28 wins 10 losses
By knockout 3 2
By submission 14 0
By decision 11 8
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 28–10 Gilbert Burns TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Oliveira 14 March 2020 1 2:34 Brasília, Brazil
Win 28–9 Ben Askren Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren 26 October 2019 3 3:54 Kallang, Singapore Fight of the Night.
Win 27–9 Anthony Rocco Martin Decision (majority) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. dos Santos 29 June 2019 3 5:00 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Win 26–9 Lyman Good Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Assunção vs. Moraes 2 2 February 2019 1 2:38 Fortaleza, Brazil
Loss 25–9 Kamaru Usman Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Usman 19 May 2018 5 5:00 Santiago, Chile
Loss 25–8 Colby Covington Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida 28 October 2017 3 5:00 São Paulo, Brazil
Loss 25–7 Tyron Woodley Decision (unanimous) UFC 214 29 July 2017 5 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States For the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 25–6 Jorge Masvidal Decision (split) UFC 211 13 May 2017 3 5:00 Dallas, Texas, United States UFC Welterweight title eliminator.
Win 24–6 Carlos Condit Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fox: Maia vs. Condit 27 August 2016 1 1:52 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Performance of the Night.
Win 23–6 Matt Brown Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 198 14 May 2016 3 4:31 Curitiba, Brazil
Win 22–6 Gunnar Nelson Decision (unanimous) UFC 194 12 December 2015 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 21–6 Neil Magny Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 190 1 August 2015 2 2:52 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Performance of the Night.
Win 20–6 Ryan LaFlare Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare 21 March 2015 5 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 19–6 Alexander Yakovlev Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale: Miocic vs. Maldonado 31 May 2014 3 5:00 São Paulo, Brazil
Loss 18–6 Rory MacDonald Decision (unanimous) UFC 170 22 February 2014 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 18–5 Jake Shields Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields 9 October 2013 5 5:00 Barueri, Brazil
Win 18–4 Jon Fitch Decision (unanimous) UFC 156 2 February 2013 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 17–4 Rick Story Submission (neck crank) UFC 153 13 October 2012 1 2:30 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 16–4 Dong Hyun Kim TKO (rib injury) UFC 148 7 July 2012 1 0:47 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Welterweight debut.
Loss 15–4 Chris Weidman Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis 28 January 2012 3 5:00 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 15–3 Jorge Santiago Decision (unanimous) UFC 136 8 October 2011 3 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States
Loss 14–3 Mark Muñoz Decision (unanimous) UFC 131 11 June 2011 3 5:00 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Win 14–2 Kendall Grove Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale 4 December 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–2 Mario Miranda Decision (unanimous) UFC 118 28 August 2010 3 5:00 Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss 12–2 Anderson Silva Decision (unanimous) UFC 112 10 April 2010 5 5:00 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates For the UFC Middleweight Championship.
Win 12–1 Dan Miller Decision (unanimous) UFC 109 6 February 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 11–1 Nate Marquardt KO (punch) UFC 102 29 August 2009 1 0:21 Portland, Oregon, United States
Win 11–0 Chael Sonnen Submission (triangle choke) UFC 95 21 February 2009 1 2:37 London, England Submission of the Night.
Win 10–0 Nate Quarry Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 91 15 November 2008 1 2:13 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 9–0 Jason MacDonald Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 87 9 August 2008 3 2:44 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Submission of the Night.
Win 8–0 Ed Herman Technical Submission (mounted triangle choke) UFC 83 19 April 2008 2 2:27 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Submission of the Night.
Win 7–0 Ryan Jensen Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 77 20 October 2007 1 2:40 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States Submission of the Night.
Win 6–0 Ryan Stout TKO (shoulder injury) GFC: Evolution 19 May 2007 1 1:54 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Win 5–0 Fabio Nascimento Submission (guillotine choke) Super Challenge 1 7 October 2006 1 0:35 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Won the Super Challenge (83 kg) Tournament.
Win 4–0 Gustavo Machado Decision (unanimous) 2 5:00
Win 3–0 Vitelmo Bandeira Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 3:30
Win 2–0 Łukasz Chlewicki Submission (armbar) The Cage Vol. 4 - Redemption 3 December 2005 1 4:22 Helsinki, Finland
Win 1–0 Raul Sosa TKO (punches) Tormenta en el Ring 21 September 2001 1 0:48 Caracas, Venezuela


See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit