Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:25 pm EDT
Maia works on his striking and overall game with Wanderlei Silva at his gym in Las Vegas. Silva raves about Maia's game during tonight's Countdown to UFC 102 on Spike TV (11 p.m. ET/PT):
"Demian is an unbelievable jiu-jitsu guy, I’m 20 pounds more than him and he plays with me on the ground. He’s unbelievable and I’m a black belt."
With all the training and expertise now available to MMA fighters, it might be even more impressive that Maia is that far ahead of the current class. His opponent at UFC 102 Nate Marquardt is a decorated grappler, but to man, his camp believes that Nate "The Great" better play to his big advantage on the feet. That’s easier said than done in the fight world. A fighter never wants to be told that he can’t hang in all areas of the game. During Countdown to UFC 102 tonight it’s interesting to hear Marquardt’s trainers at Jackson’s Submission Fighting openly admit that their guy had better not go to the ground and yet it doesn’t appear he’s listening:
"I could do a grappling match right now and beat him," says Marquardt (28-8-1). "But this is MMA, this is my sport, and when it goes to the ground, he’s going to have to eat some leather. It doesn’t matter where the fight goes, I’m going to win the fight. I’m going to tear him up whether we’re on the ground or on the feet."
How many times have we heard that from a wrestler who tries to strike with a striker? Marquardt’s trainers know better than to send Marquardt into Maia's domain:
"In a fight against Demian Maia one mistake can change the fight," trainer Trevor Wittman. "It’s very important we stay discpilined in this fight."
Another trainer Mike Winkeljohn suggests that they may be having trouble getting through to Marquardt:
"Nate Marquardt has a huge advantage on his feet, that’s where I’d love to see the fight stay. If I can keep Nate’s ego from wanting to hit the ground, that’d be a fantastic thing. There’s definitely a danger for Nate Marquardt to prove that he can hang with Demian Maia on the ground."
Maia has picked up three Submission of the Night checks in his five fights.