Over the course of his last few fights, which have seen him dominate Gunnar Nelson to a decision, submit Matt Brown and Carlos Condit with rear-naked chokes, and most recently, score a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal, Demian Maia has earned the nickname “the Brazilian backpack.” This, of course, is based on his ability to take his opponents’ backs and, oftentimes, lock up a choke for the win.
Given that Maia is now the welterweight division’s number one contender, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is training for the possibility for a fight with him. Apparently, the champ has brought in a special “training partner” for his talented, grappling-proficient rival.
See Woodley working with his new training partner in the video at the top of this article.
Woodley, of course, has made no secret of the fact that he does not consider Maia a particularly exciting matchup. That said, he has assured he’ll fight him if it’s the fight he’s offered.
“I’m not against fighting Demian Maia,” Woodley explained on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I think, out of all the guys in the top-10 that are really threatening guys who are frightening in the Octagon — whether it’s submissions or knockouts or just their ability to be tough — I match up the best with him. I’ve fought that style so many different times. I’ve trained against that style.”
“My last five fights have been against southpaws — Dong Hyun Kim, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, Stephen Thompson — so as far as the stance and the style, I’ve seen it so many times and I have such great resources, guys like Ben Askren. I might even pick up the phone and grab Jake Shields, because a lot of people don’t realize that Jake Shields went to Brazil and dominated Demian Maia.”
What’s your prediction for a possible Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/17/2017.