Maia Breaks Down UFC Win

Apr 24, 2008
Demian Maia (Pictures) scored another impressive victory last Saturday at UFC 83. The Brazilian middleweight used a triangle choke and strikes to subdue Ed Herman (Pictures) and improve his record to 7-0. spoke with the BJJ black belt on his win and what's next.

Martins Denis: You had a submission victory over Ed Herman (Pictures) that earned you the submission of the night. But did your plan work out how you expected?
Demian Maia (Pictures): That was a good victory, but I think I committed a few mistakes. This happened more due to being hasty, but I guess the plan did go well and those strikes I ate were good because I could test if I can take them. And of course I could let Herman open up. This was a good experience against a guy who now has 21 fights and I had only eight.

Denis: You had a cut on the top of your head. Was that a worry for you?
Maia: The first time I felt I was bleeding, I checked it with my hand, and I said: "Dammit! What s---!" But at the same time, I realized the bleeding wasn't bad. So I relaxed and stayed alert to not take another one in the same spot or in my face. But the cut wasn't deep. When I went to the doctor to check if I needed stitches, he said it was superficial, not needing stitches.

Denis: You spoke about eating strikes and that this was good. Was this, at the same time, a big risk?
Maia: I wanted him hitting me, but not to get hurt. This was because I needed to make him open gaps for my submission or for his mistakes. But this was a risk. I want to fight 10 more years, and punishment affects the future. On a few occasions, you need to jeopardize yourself to see how you react. I reacted well, in my analysis, but at the same time I saw that I don't need to take punishment.

Denis: Every time a BJJ fighter doesn't take a fight to the ground immediately, he spends a lot of gas and this harms his performance. Did that happen to you?
Maia: I'm very confident when I pull to the guard, but I know this is not what they want to watch. So I really spent stamina on the double-leg attempts. I was very well prepared, but I had influenza two weeks before the fight and I think I wasn't 100 percent healed for the match. I had in my mind that the work before the fight was perfect and I knew that if I didn't take the fight down in the first attempts that I'd be OK due to the preparation. But I guess I still had traces of that flu, and I got a little tired. At the same time, Herman did as well because the fight was intense. I didn't stop moving. I'll work more on this aspect because I can face a worse situation than the last one. And then in the second stanza I stopped a bit, but not just due to my gas, but also because I was attacking him all the time and blocking him, so I decided to reduce the pace. We can't attack all the time. The adversary defends himself always and doesn't give you a gap.

Denis: When did you feel your stamina wasn't good?
Maia: When the fight was over, I felt a pain in my chest. I was congested and I took some medication to expel that. But during the fight, I felt it in the beginning of the second round, but it was nothing to harm my strategy and my game at all. I was ready to fight three five-minute rounds using the rest of my gas, my heart and my technique. I'll check if the gas problem was due to the influenza or due to the excess of strength I used to take him down. This is the time to fix the mistakes because I have no doubts I'll face tougher opponents, even though I consider Herman tough. He had a good winning streak and had experience.

Denis: During your submission of the night, when did you realize the fight was over? I mean, when you sank the lock, when you mounted or when you delivered those punches?
Maia: When I sank that triangle, I did think, ‘He'll tap.' But he doesn't give up. You watched. I sank a heelhook and he didn't tap, but when I met him backstage he had his foot in a bucket of ice. So I sank the triangle, he didn't tap and I realized I'd have to press more because he wouldn't tap. The triangle was tight. He turned, and I reached the mount. He raised the arm but didn't tap, so I adjusted a little more and landed those hits. My expectation was a tap or a referee stoppage, but it didn't happen and he went unconscious.

Denis: This triangle was the submission of the night. So you watched the rest of the event cheering against any outstanding submissions like a flying armbar or similar (laughs)?
Maia: Yeah, $75,000 doesn't appear in front of us everyday. But when I step in the Octagon, I don't lose my concentration with this focus. The most important is my career and the victory. I'll never change a simple submission for a spectacular one. This is the wrong way of thinking that I'll never have. We can pay for this in a fight. I mean we can lose badly with focusing on this stuff.

Denis: It is still premature to speculate about your next fight. But do you think they'll book you against another Brazilian?
Maia: I don't think so. I guess they'll put an American or a Canadian in front of me. If they book me against another Brazilian, I'll fight. I accept because I want the belt. I'm prepared for anyone, but I'm on a long road for this. I'm walking through this slowly. The time will come.

Denis: After your fight you spoke to the Canadian fans about hockey, and they liked it. What about that?
Maia: The sport is huge in North America. We need to mark a territory there, to be reminded. I cut my hair ala Mohican and used an entrance music from "The Last of the Mohicans." This worked last time, and I did it again. Not because I trust in luck. I trust in hard training, but if it worked, let's do it again. They gave that hockey uniform to everybody, with the name on the back, so I told my cornermen to bring it with us. So I did think of making that to please the crowd. I think this is important because there are a lot of fighters, and you need to be reminded by your game and by the nice image you can show for the fans.
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