After arriving in the promotion, Maia went 6-1, defeating the likes of Ed Herman, Jason MacDonald, and Chael Sonnen before he was awarded a shot at reigning Anderson Silva.
His battle against Silva at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi will go down as one of the most lackluster title bouts in UFC history. A few months after the fight, Maia went on HDNet's Inside MMA to tell the fans his side of the story.
Maia has moved on to go undefeated in his two bouts since the fight against Silva, defeating Mario Miranda and Kendall Grove by decision.
This Saturday, Maia will be looking to run his current winning streak up to three when he takes on the up-and-coming prospect Mark Munoz (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
“I have a lot of respect for Mark Munoz,” Maia told Bleacherreport.com/mma in an exclusive interview. “I think he is a great fighter and a very nice guy.”
When you compete at the top of the middleweight division, Maia recognizes that there is no room for error.
“At this level, all fights are tough, and we always have to watch out for a lot of stuff, as everyone is training to be a well-rounded fighter.”
When asked about what he believes Munoz' greatest strengths are, Maia told Bleacher Report “Obviously he has great wrestling. He also hits very hard, and is improving his stand-up”
Every fighter realizes that in order to keep at the top of your respective division, you have to consistently work on improving your skill set. When it comes to his training leading in to his bout this Saturday, Maia has left no stone unturned.
“I have been training hard in all areas, like I always do, as I want to be the UFC champion one day. So I have to keep improving.” Maia explained. “As always, I trained a lot of jiu-jitsu, a lot of boxing, and also muay thai and wrestling.”
When asked what he believed would be the one aspect of his game Munoz should worry about the most, Maia replied “Everybody knows that I come from a jiu-jitsu background.”
“Ground games is my specialty, however I'm training a lot so I can be efficient in all areas of the game, as I'm sure Mark is doing the same.”
As he stated earlier in our conversation, Maia hopes to capture the UFC middleweight title one day. While the desire will surely be in the back of his mind, Maia will be focusing on nothing but Mark Munoz at UFC 131.
“Right now, I don't think about this.” Maia said about where he believed a win against Munoz would put him as far as the middleweight title picture is concerned.
“All I think is about fighting Mark Munoz on June 11. Obviously we are always trying to move up, and whoever wins this fight will take a step forward.
“But when or where we will be, and what will happen next is something I'll think about after the fight along with my team.”
With the recent announcement of the Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz bout, it appears that “business as usual” will not last for long as far as Strikeforce fighters not fighting in the UFC and vice-versa. Should some of the best from Strikeforce's middleweight division start competing in the UFC, Maia believes it will be a good thing for everyone.
“I think competition is always getting tougher. For the fans, [it] will be very good to have those guys mixing in the division in the UFC, as we will have more great fights to watch.
“Regardless there will always be new and tough guys coming in and I certainly think guys like Jacare [Souza] can cause an impact and become contenders as well.
When Maia isn't either training to beat someone up or beating someone up, he is just an average person like the rest of us.
When asked about his life away from fighting scene, Maia said “I like to stay with my family, spend time with my wife and take care of my baby daughter, play with my dogs, watch some movies … I mean, normal stuff [laughs].”
Maia, who will turn 34 in November, has a plan already in place when his fighting days are over. However, he has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
“I have the goal of becoming a UFC champion one day, and be the best fighter I can be. I don't know how long I'll be fighting, but I take good care of myself and I want to reach my goal, with some good years ahead.
“When I retire from fighting, I want to keep working with jiu-jitsu and maybe I see myself working for a big MMA promotion like the UFC. Why not?
“It's something I can see myself doing, but I'm right now 100 percent focused on being a pro fighter, and becoming the best one I can be.”
On a parting note, Maia wanted to send a shout-out to all of his fans.
“I would like to thank all the fans for the support. I'll be doing my best again in the Octagon on June 11 in Vancouver at UFC 131, and I hope they will have a great time.
“I'm opening some new affilitated Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools in Canada and in the USA. You can following me on Twitter @demianmaia, and check out my website at www.demianmaia.com to check all the news and more.
“See you guys in Vancouver!”
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