“It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to have breakfast with Royce, Rickson, Royler and Renzo. Four guys that I always considered as my idols in jiu-jitsu…Right after the breakfast, Renzo went to my room. We turned up one of the beds and spent almost two hours on the carpet…I’m really impressed with Renzo’s knowledge of jiu-jitsu, as applied to MMA. Besides very important tips to correct my positions, he also showed so many important details about positioning that I needed to write down on paper and not forget…When I step in the ring, I represent Brazilian jiu-jitsu, created more than 100 years ago by the Gracie family.There’s nothing better than drinking from the fountain of all their knowledge and getting all the details I need to make it better each time. I just have to thank those four guys, who I always considered as idols for all the important tips they gave to me.”
—Demian Maia talking about his recent trip to Bejing, China for Art of War 12 where he got the opportunity to visit with the Gracies and sharpen his skills with Renzo.
Kind of a scary thought to think about Maia getting even better at BJJ. Time will tell if his superior jiu-jitsu will be enough to take him to the top of the UFC’s middleweight division, but with the way he’s been performing thus far, it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility.
Maia takes a big step up in competition at UFC 102 when he faces one of the UFC’s elite middleweights, Nate Marquardt. That fight should give us a good indication of where Maia stands in the division.
A boatload of pictures of Maia with the Gracies, training with Renzo, and hanging out in China with Fabricio Werdum, Thales Leities, and Vitor Ribeiro are over at Sherdog.