When UFC veteran Demian Maia dropped a unanimous decision to Chris Weidman on January of 2012, he thought about retirement for the first time in his career. But it wasn’t only his lackluster performance against the current middleweight champion that made the 35-year-old Brazilian entertain the idea of calling it quits.
In fact, a series of unfortunate and pitiful events created a huge drama on the jiu-jitsu specialist’s personal life that made him put his fighting career in perspective. Earlier in the week, during the UFC Fight Night 29 Press Conference on his hometown of Sao Paulo, Maia took the courage to tell the media for the first time what happened to him in 2012. As told by Maia himself, via UOL:
“A few things happened to me that only a few people know about. I broke my hand and had to undergo surgery. My wife lost our son we were expecting. And when we left the hospital, we were robbed by five or six armed men. That was the only time in my life I thought about giving up fighting. Dropping to welterweight was a new beginning. If I had karma to pay, I already did it.”
The decision to move down to the 170-pound division proved to be the right one. Besides being often outmuscled as a middleweight, Maia made it all the way to the top of the ladder, challenging former champion Anderson Silva for the belt at UFC 112, but eventually losing via decision. Then, after defeats to Mark Munoz and the aforementioned to Weidman, the Brazilian saw himself in no-man’s land in the 185-pound division. But now undefeated as a welterweight, Maia is once again super close to a title shot, after three straight victories inside a weight class that seems to better fit his body type.
“I decided that, if I was going to continue, I’d do it the right way”, added Maia, “I like to be in control, but I wasn’t able to properly handle coaching hirings and organize myself with everything. I passed everything to my manager Eduardo Alonso, who has a brilliant vision of the business. He takes care of it all, sets up my camp and my training schedule, deals with the media and with the negotiations with the UFC.”
Maia now believes that a win over a former title contender in Jake Shields will be enough to make him the next challenger to the welterweight belt. Following dominant performances over seasoned 170ers Dong “Stun Gun” Hyum Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch, the Brazilian might very well be one victory away from another shot at UFC gold.
“I’m sure that, if I win, I’m going to fight for the belt”, said Maia, “Jake Shields is a former Strikeforce champion, a man who beat Dan Henderson, Carlos Condit… At this weight class, he’s beating up pretty much everybody. He’s really tough.”
Demian Maia and Jake Shields are set to be the main event of UFC Fight Night 29 on October 9th at Sao Paulo, Brazil.Tags: demian Maia, Jake Shields, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, UFC Fight Night 29, ufc news