Demian Maia is an incredibly-gifted grappler, but for some reason after his loss to Nate Marquardt, Maia decided to be a standup fighter. It doesn’t make sense.
Maia is a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu–jitsu and has many wins over some great fighters via submission.
In his first 11 fights, Maia was undefeated, with only one fight going to decision.
Demian Maia was on a roll. People were sure he was going to be something special at middleweight. Then came his 21-second KO to Marquardt.
Ever since that loss, Maia has been standing up in each of his fights. While his boxing has shown improvement, he hasn’t been as consistent as when he took his fights to the ground.
Can Maia once again become an elite middleweight? Absolutely!
But whether or not he will is uncertain.
In order for Maia to win, either his boxing needs to improve even more, or he needs to go back to his former glory as a grappler.
Maia’s opponent, Jorge Santiago, has had an up-and-down career as well. That being said, Santiago certainly has the ability to outstrike Maia if the two get into a standup battle.
Since his loss to Marquardt, Maia has had five fights that have all gone to decision while he tried to out-box his opponents. Of those five fights, he was victorious in only three.
Maia doesn’t have knockout power, but he does have the ability to finish fights.
It’s certainly a smart move for Maia to improve his boxing. In today's MMA, fighters should be skilled in all areas of combat, but Maia should only use his boxing when he has to or to set up takedowns.
Demian Maia truly does have the ability to become an elite fighter at middleweight. But for some reason he’s gotten it in his head that he’s a boxer.
Will Maia return to his former tactics and glory? There is no way to know for sure, but he absolutely can.