By Demian Maia

*** Leading welterweight contender Demian Maia tells Fighters Only all about the five greatest nights in his mixed martial arts career to date ***



Triple threat

vs. three opponents, Superior Challenge 1

“Before I joined the UFC, I won three fights in one night at Superior Challenge 1 in Rio de Janeiro. This was truly the moment when I started to believe in myself fully. That I could make a very good career. It’s tough to fight three times in one night, but I did it and I did it against three fighters with much more experience than me. They were much more dangerous than me, so to win all those fights was great.”



Sub of the Night

vs. Chael Sonnen, UFC 95

“I have to include my fight with Chael Sonnen in London. This was a very nice fight that I liked. It was my first fight in the UK, but to beat a guy like Chael really made people take notice of me. It was the ‘Submission of the Night’ also and that victory really put me in line for a title shot against Anderson (Silva).”



Falling short

vs. Anderson Silva, UFC 112

“My fight against Anderson Silva was very important for me also. At one point in the middle of that fight I was thinking that it would be impossible for me to go five rounds. But I learned in this fight that nothing is impossible and I can come back from anything. I was thinking I would be knocked out, his timing is so strong, but I really came back into the fight and I dominated the end of the fight. Plus, the confidence I took from standing up to the best guy in the world for five rounds was very big for me.”



Turning point

vs. Rory MacDonald, UFC 170

“This is actually another fight that I lost, but I still look back on it very happily as it was a great fight against a great opponent. The result was very close and we got ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses, but for me it was good to know that I could fight with Rory in all areas. Even when losing, I knew after this fight I wouldn’t lose again. It answered many questions in my head and since, I’ve only been winning.”



Making a statement

vs. Carlos Condit, UFC on Fox 21

“For sure, this is another fight I really enjoyed. It was my first time headlining a Fox card, so there was added pressure. Plus, Condit is another very good fighter who has been the champion so it was important for me to win to stay on course for the belt. Condit is a very good fighter who hasn’t lost by submission for a very long time, so to beat him with a choke was perfect. Now I am ready for that title.”


*** This feature originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Fighters Only ***