UFC fighter Demian Maia is nearing the end of his career. On Saturday, Maia is competing in his 29th fight in the octagon. The 41-year-old has had a long and esteemed career in both jiu-jitsu and UFC. He’s competed for multiple title belts in his career.
On Saturday, he is fighting Lyman Good, a tough opponent. Maia has lost his last three fights so this is an important one.
Demian Maia’s Introduction To Martial Arts
Maia got into martial arts more or less by accident. He says he started taking judo classes when he was five years of age. His mother took him and his brother to the classes to get out excess energy. He doesn’t remember doing the classes for long, but at the age of 12, Maia got back into martial arts and never looked back.
As a young teenager, Demian tried kung fu and karate. At 19 years old, Maia switched to jiu-jitsu. He says he made the switch because when he watched fights on TV, he noticed that the guys trained in jiu-jitsu, more often than not, had the advantage. He wanted to be like those guys. He wanted to be a winner.
Being from Sao Paolo, jiu-jitsu made a lot of sense for Maia. Jiu-jitsu is a Brazilian martial art so there is much more of a jiu-jitsu culture in Sao Paolo than there is a kung fu or karate culture.
Once Maia started with jiu-jitsu, he really got serious. He went from training once a day to twice a day and lifting weights as well. There was something about this particular martial art that Maia fell in love with. He took to it much more than he did to judo, kung fu, or karate.
In the late 1990s there were not a ton of guys fighting professionally. Maia didn’t expect to make a living as a fighter. He knew his life would revolve around fighting but he thought it would take the direction of teaching and coaching and sometimes competing in competitions.
But things began to change towards the turn of the century. Martial arts was gaining more of a following and it became more and more possible to make money as a fighter.
Maia started competing in international competitions and had some success in the early 2000s. It wasn’t until 2001 that Maia had his first professional fight. He traveled to Venezuela, his first time outside Brazil. He remembers it as a great learning experience.
Four years later, in 2005, Maia went to Finland to compete in another professional fight and won. Back in Brazil, in 2006, he won three fights in one tournament on the same night. Maia was gaining speed and confidence. The next year he went to Ohio and won again. At this point, Maia was undefeated. He’d won six professional fights. This is when UFC took notice. Maia signed with them in 2007.
Maia can only recall one punch that really got to him in a big way. In 2009 he fought Nate Marquardt who handed Maia his first loss. Marquardt knocked him out as Maia was running forward. Maia woke up when he hit the ground but the referee ended the fight because Maia wasn’t able to continue.
In 2010, Maia fought Anderson Silva, the best in the world at the time. Maia had only fought 12 fights at the time and remembers feeling inexperienced. Maia held his own but unsurprisingly wasn’t able to take Silva down.
Maia has won many fights in his career, and his jiu-jitsu style has brought him much success over the years. What’s next for the 41-year-old is hard to say but he sure has left a legacy behind him.