It was expected to be a back-and-forth battle that hinged on a mistake here or a slip-up there. The main event of UFC on Fox 21 was figured by most to likely go the full five rounds, but the duel between Demian Maia and Carlos Condit didn’t even last two full minutes.
Maia wasted little time in dragging “The Natural Born Killer” to the canvas and though Condit was relaxed on the mat, the Brazilian’s boa constrictor-like fighting style allowed him to slither onto his foe’s back. It was a shot on the ground, Condit later revealed, that caused him to give up his back. Once he did, he was like a seal fighting off a great white shark.
Maia, easily among the greatest jiu jitsu players on the planet, slinked his arms around Condit’s lower jaw and neck and forced the tapout moments later. It was the quickest loss of Condit’s career, one that hasn’t ended so abruptly since 2005 when Carlos Prater took him out in the first back in 2004. After the bout Condit revealed that he’s leaning toward retirement, the antithesis of what Maia wants, which is a crack at Tyron Woodley’s UFC welterweight title.
“I think so,” Maia said regarding whether he deserves the next shot at the championship, though Stephen Thompson is rumored be next in line. “I respect very much Thompson. He’s a great guy. I’m much older than him so he has time. If they give ‘Wonderboy’ the next title shot, I hope it’s fast so I can have the next shot right after that.”
At 38 years old, Maia is well aware that time isn’t on his side. When pressed on whether he’d wait for his title shot or take a fight in between, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I will wait,” he stated. “I can’t stay active in training and do what I do every day. This sport is really tough. You can not only lose but you can get really hurt. I beat a guy that many people thought [was] supposed to be the champ so I think I am next [for the title].”
Maia became the third-winningest fighter in UFC history, tying Donald Cerrone and Matt Hughes with 18 career triumphs overall. It’s a milestone he’s proud of and he attributes most of his success to the gentle art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“This was a performance that shows the discipline of Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” he said. “It’s not just about control, but also defense. It helps me avoid the big shots I know Carlos is capable of. I have a lot of respect for him and he very well could’ve been champion as his fight with [then-champ Robbie] Lawler was extremely close. I knew I had the choke in tight but with MMA gloves, you always have the opportunity to escape. I didn’t think it was over until I felt him tap.”
The sport is abuzz after witnessing Maia score the 12th submission win of his pro career — and ninth in the Octagon Whether he has to wait several months before he lands another chance at UFC gold – he came up short against Anderson Silva in 2010 for the middleweight crown – or if the UFC grants him the opportunity before anybody else, one thing is certain: Maia has slowly become one of the most decorated fighters in the history of the Octagon.