Biography(references)Maia has previously credited a three-hour private lesson he once took with Rickson Gracie as one of the moments that had the biggest impact on his approach to Jiu-Jitsu and changed it entirely. He won the 77–87 kg weight division at 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, defeating Yushin Okami, Rafael Lovato, and Tarsis Humphres before armbarring Flavio Almeida in the finals. He also won the 2007 Super Challenge under 83 kg belt, defeating Vitelmo Kubis Bandeira by rear naked choke and Gustavo Machado by a judges decision before going on to defeat Fabio Negao by guillotine choke in the finals. On the heels of his ADCC Championship in 2007, Maia released an instructional DVD series titled The Science of Jiu-Jitsu I & II in collaboration with the World Martial Arts company. Maia's grappling prowess is so highly regarded among MMA fighters that noted heavyweight submission artist and fellow BJJ black belt Frank Mir hired him as his head jiu-jitsu coach prior to his UFC 100 title fight with Brock Lesnar.
Combat ApproachMaia's fighting style is built around his exceptional abilities on the ground, where he has been able to dominate his opponents. Maia uses double and single leg takedowns as well as trips to advance to a dominant position and soften his opponent up with ground and pound, waiting for an opening for a submission. Maia is also confident enough in his striking to close the distance and initiate takedowns.
Fighter Trivia(references)He has a wife named Renata, who works for a Brazilian magazine. Maia listed UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie as his inspiration to begin an MMA career, but lists Royce's brother Rickson Gracie as his primary hero. In 2020, Maia opened a new academy in São Paulo, which also includes a jiu-jitsu museum.
Awards & Accolades
ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships: ADCC 2007 77–87 kg: 1st place
ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships: ADCC 2005 77–87 kg: 2nd place
Pan American Championships: 2006 Pan American Champion
CBJJ World Championships: 2001 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 2nd Place
CBJJ World Championships: 2000 Purple Belt Medio-Pesado: 1st Place
CBJJ World Championships: 1999 Blue Belt Medio: 2nd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Championships: 2006 Black Belt Absolute: 2nd Place & Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 3rd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Championships: 2002 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 3rd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Championships: 2001 Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 1st Place & Brown Belt Medio-Pesado: 3rd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships: 2003 Brown/Black Pesada: Master, 1st Place
CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships: 2002 Brown/Black Pesada: Alliance, 2nd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships: 2001 Brown/Black Pesada: Alliance, 1st Place
CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships: 2000 Purple Belt Pesada: Alliance, 1st Place
CBJJO Copa Del Mundo (World Cup): 2005 −85 kg Black Belt: 1st Place
CBJJO Copa Del Mundo (World Cup): 2003 Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 3rd Place & Black Belt Absolute: 1st Place
CBJJO Copa Del Mundo (World Cup): 2002 Black Belt Meio-Pesado: 1st Place & Black Belt Absolute: 2nd Place
UFC: Fight of the Night (Two times) vs. Rory MacDonald and Ben Askren
UFC: Performance of the Night (Two times) vs. Neil Magny and Carlos Condit
UFC: Submission of the Night (Four times) vs. Ryan Jensen, Ed Herman, Jason MacDonald and Chael Sonnen
UFC: Fourth most wins in UFC history (22)
UFC: Tied (with Chris Lytle and Gunnar Nelson) for most submission wins in UFC Welterweight history (6)
UFC: Tied (with Jim Miller) for second most submission wins in UFC history (11)
Super Challenge: Super Challenge Tournament 182.6 lbs/83 kg (Winner)
FIGHT! Magazine: Newcomer of the Year (2008)
MMAjunkie.com: 2014 February Fight of the Month vs. Rory MacDonald
Sherdog: 2015 Comeback Fighter of the Year
World MMA Awards: 2008 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year
World MMA Awards: 2019 – July 2020 Submission of the Year vs. Ben Askren
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