Fans may have been surprised to see Demian Maia paired against an opponent like 15-1 Dong Hyun Kim for the Brazilian’s welterweight debut, but the match-up certainly didn’t surprise the accomplished BJJer. While Maia may have come up short in two of his last three outings, the 34-year old is accustomed to facing high-level opponents based on his relatively successful run at 185 pounds and expected the same in his new divisional home as well.
Maia spoke some about Kim in a recent interview where he expressed excitement over the challenge ahead of him, offered up an assessment of the South Korean’s skills, and also updated the world on the status of an injured hand.
“I knew they’d give me a hard guy,” said Maia of Kim in a conversation with TATAME. “I had many tough fights in the UFC and I can’t wait for anything other than tough guys too. It’ll be a hard test but I’m hoping it all works just fine in this weight cut and that I do a good fight and win”
When asked to break down the “Stun Gun”, Maia pointed to the judoka’s well-rounded skill-set, adding that he felt the fight could go anywhere based on Kim’s ability to strike and grapple.
In the meantime Maia will work on slimming down from his current weight (193 pounds) to be in a reasonable range for 170 without having to cut too much during the final run. One thing he won’t be doing, at least for awhile, will be sparring at full speed due to an undisclosed hand injury.
The 15-4 Maia brought it up when asked if he had any regrets about the bout being on July 8 rather than a few weeks earlier when the UFC visits Brazil.
“I couldn’t do it even if I wanted because of my hand,” the submission specialist explained. “In July I’ll have a couple more weeks and it’ll make a huge different on training because my hand is not 100% repaired yet.”
Maia vs. Kim will serve as one of the featured bouts at UFC 148, an event headlined by Dominick Cruz defending his bantamweight title against Urijah Faber and also involving match-ups like Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le, Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch, and Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin.