While Anderson Silva’s last eleven opponents enjoyed the best training camps of their careers before receiving their beatdowns, Demian Maia willingly accepted the challenge of trying to hand the champ his first loss in over four years on just eight weeks notice.
With Vitor Belfort’s abrupt exit from UFC 112, the organization was left scrambling for a suitable last-minute replacement to face Silva. Although he was just six days removed from his unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller at UFC 109, and the UFC’s debut in Abu Dhabi was just 57 days away, it wasn’t even a question when the offer was extended.
“This is the opportunity I can’t pass up,” Maia told GracieMag.com of fighting Silva during his prime for the title. “It may happen only once in my lifetime. It’s not the ideal amount of time, but at the same time, it’s not bad. I’m coming off a fight and I’m not out of rhythm.”
The short turnaround also allows Maia to quickly build on the confidence he established during his 15-minute stand up scrap with Miller. Although he completely understands Miller’s hands are nowhere near as deadly as Silva’s, his performance at UFC 109 went a long way mentally in prepping for MMA’s most efficient striker.
“It was really important, because I could test myself standing and see that it wasn’t just in training that I could fight like that,” said Maia. “I managed to fight safely, controlling the distance safely. It was also really important to fight 3Rounds, which I hadn’t yet done in the UFC.
“It was worthwhile for the experience and I’m really happy because I felt safe standing, which I had never felt before. It was important in my evolution and was something I needed to do before challenging for the title. But I know I have much to improve on and many details to correct, for sure.”
Confidence is one thing, but trying to defend the vicious barrage of bombs “The Spider” is capable of unleashing is a completely different story.
If that’s the case, Maia may not be around to hear the ending.
UFC 112 takes place April 10th inside the Concert Arena in Abu Dhabi. Don’t forget that it will be an early start with the live pay-per-view broadcast beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT.