Remember when Demian Maia first entered the UFC's middleweight division? How could you forget. He submitted the first five men that the company locked him in the cage with. The crafty Brazilian even took home four submission of the night bonus checks for his work. Sprinkle in four losses and four decision victories later and you have a fighter who would look to get back to his roots in a different weight class.
photo credit - AP
After Maia's welterweight debut this past summer it was tough to really judge how Demian would fare in his new weight class. His opponent would succumb to a rib injury less than a minute into the bout and Maia would get his hand raised for just showing up. Last night in Brazil, Maia would face a tough test in Rick "The Horror" Story, an accomplished striker who would've loved nothing more than to spoil the jiu-jitsu wizard's homecoming. So how did Maia fair in his first fight on Brazilian since 2006? Let's just say that the 170 pound division has a new contender, and he may the most dangerous finisher in the weight class.
After eating a left hook from story early on in the round, Maia slammed his opponent to the ground with ease. Story was now in Maia's world, and it didn't look like he enjoyed his stay. Story got back up for a moment but it wouldn't take long for Maia to get him right back where he wanted him. This time, when Story would get back up it would be time to hit the showers.
When Maia got Story's back it appeared he would force him to tap to rear-naked choke, but Maia would not stop there. He turned Story's head and forced him to tap to a neck crank, while his nose squirted blood, easily making this the most violent scene of the night.
So where does Demian Maia go from here? The former #1 middleweight contender could face the other most impressive welterweight of last night, Jon Fitch, in would could be an intriguing battle on the mat. A headlining bout against Josh Koscheck on FX sometime early next year? How about a battle for title contention against UFC on Fox 5's Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn victor? Stay tuned folks. Demian Maia is back, and after he celebrates his 35th birthday next month he'll look to close finish the latter part of his career on a title run.