UFC welterweight contender Demian Maia is on one hell of a streak. Since losing back-to-back decisions to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald in late 2013 and early 2014, he’s embarked on a run of six-straight wins. Were it not for the seven-fight streak of Stephen Thompson, this recent success would have almost certainly earned him a UFC welterweight title shot by now. His streak, after all, is not just long. It was also constructed against top-shelf competition.
It began with a win over talented Russian Alexander Yakovlev. Next up was a decision defeat of Ryan LaFlare, who entered the bout with an undefeated record.
Then came Maia’s four most recent wins, all of which occured against bona fide top-10 talents. First, he shattered the streak of Neil Magny. Next, he dominated fellow grappling whiz Gunnar Nelson. Then, he took out gritty striker Matt Brown. Finally and most recently, Maia scored arguably the finest win of his career, tapping former WEC welterweight king and UFC interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit with a first-round rear-naked choke.
These four most recent wins are made even more incredible by the fact that Maia absorbed just a few significant fights over the course of them – 13 to be exact. Think about that for a second. Just 13 strikes absorbed across four fights with destroyers like Magny, Nelson, Brown and Condit.
Unsurprisingly, Maia is pretty pleased with this statistic. The Brazilian contender explained why this is such a point of pride in a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com.
“It’s not conscious, during the fight I don’t think about that,” Maia told MMAjunkie of his tendency to avoid damage. “But it’s the way my training is planned to get the least hit as possible and be able to clinch the guys and get closer. As I’m clinching with the guys, it’s hard to punch me. When I stand up, I’m not so close to them to punch me. The style and the way I train make it harder for the opponents to punch me or to hit me.”
Maia elaborated that his remaining goals for his MMA career are to not only win the welterweight title, but also retire with his health intact.
“We joke in the academy that some friends in the academy are forgetting things and say the same things over and over,” Maia said. “But it’s true. Sometimes you get too many hits and it’s not good for your health. My goal is not just to be a champion, but to be healthy when I finish my career.”
What do you think of Maia’s recent run? How do you think he’ll fair against the winner of Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson’s UFC 205 title fight?