Demian Maia’s contract with the UFC came to an end last June, after his loss to Belal Muhammad. However, the 43 year-old BJJ black belt still trains with vigor; Maia puts in the work two times per day, as he said in an interview for the MMA Fighting website.
But what would Demian answer to a question such as: “Who’s the greatest grappler in MMA of all time?” Would he position himself up there among the ranks?
That’s a question that he was asked during a recent episode of the “Mike Swick Podcast”. And, as a matter of fact, Maia believes that it’s Khabib Nurmagomedov who takes the spot #1.
Here’s what he had to say:
Khabib, before me, is the best of all time. He’s great and I remember something that is stuck in my head. This really stuck in my head when I fighting I think it was my first fight as a welterweight.
One of my coaches, Leonardo Vieira, who also was one of my professors since I was a blue belt. And he’s a phenomenal jiujitsu guy. He’s amazing. Leo was with me and we are training at, I think, MGM or Mandalay Bay during the week. We had a room to train. And then Khabib was in the same room. And Leo spoke to him because Leo’s brother Leandro Vieira trains the AKA guys.
Leo told me: “This kid is great, he will be a champion.”
When Maia asked his coach if he meant that Khabib was a great wrestler, Leo clarified:
No, not just great wrestler. He’s great in jiu jitsu too.
To that, Maia only had to add:
And I said, man if Leo is saying that, it’s because this kid is really good.
The BJJ and MMA legend @demianmaia on @TeamKhabib:
“Khabib for me is the best of all time” pic.twitter.com/NZdfczwleK
— Riehmann (@RiehmannC) September 30, 2021