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Demian Maia.

Demian Maia: 'Michael Bisping Is Underrated'

January-16-12
We speak exclusively to Demian Maia ahead of his fight with Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2.

Author: David Bateman

Interview

Demian Maia fights the UK’s most prominent fighter, Michael Bisping, at UFC on Fox 2 on January 28th, with a future UFC Middleweight title shot potentially on the line.

We caught up with Demian over the weekend to talk about hs fight with Bisping.

Your MMA: How good an opponent do you think Bisping is?

“I think Bisping is a great fighter and a very tough opponent. His record speaks for itself, he’s only lost three times and one of those was in a different weight class, and he has fought a lot of hard opponents. I think he is underrated in many senses and it's a great test for myself.”

Your MMA: What do you think of Michael Bisping's ground skills? How much better is your Jiu Jitsu than his?

“We are not fighting Jiu Jitsu, we are competing in MMA. I'm sure my pure Jiu Jitsu is likely better than his, like his pure boxing is likely better than mine, but this is MMA and it completely changes the dynamics of everything.

“I think he certainly has good ground skills for MMA, but he usually focuses on other strong points of his game, so he doesn't emphasize much on his ground skills during his fights. I tend to likely have an advantage on the ground but this is a tough fight and we both can be surprised, so we both have to be ready for everything.”

Your MMA: Bisping is known for being tough to keep down on the mat, do you think you will be able to keep him down long enough to submit him?

“I have to believe in my skills, in the same way he has to believe in his. We will see, I'm training hard and we have to be prepared for whatever happens during the fight. He will do his best to impose his gameplan and I'll work hard to impose mine, but we have to be ready for other situations as they happen.”

Your MMA: How do you think you will cope with Bisping's stand-up? Will you be comfortable standing with him?

“We can only know after the fight. Bisping obviously has very good striking, he’s very technical and feels very comfortable striking. The game nowadays is so competitive that you have to work hard in everything in order to keep evolving as a fighter.

“I have been focusing on my striking a lot, training a lot of boxing and even went to Holland to train Muay Thai recently, cause this is my profession and it's my obligation to keep evolving. Like I said, he is likely the better striker, but this is MMA and anything can happen. I have to be prepared to fight wherever the fight takes us, and I'm sure he is doing the same.”

Your MMA: What do you think Bisping's weaknesses are?

“It’s tough to say, I think he is a very good fighter, with a solid record, underrated in many senses and well-rounded. In theory his ground game should be a little weaker than his striking and wrestling, but the people he has fought usually haven’t capitalized on that during his fights, and he has proven himself a lot! So I have to say he is very well rounded.”

Your MMA: What do you think of Bisping as a person?

“I don't have any problems at all with Bisping. He was always very respectful and polite whenever we met, so I have no reason to think bad of him. I think he is an intelligent guy and has helped our sport to grow a lot in the UK and Europe, and that can't be denied.”

Your MMA: What are your thoughts about his post-fight reaction after the Jorge Rivera fight, and how he carried himself on the Ultimate Fighter?

“To be quite honest with you I didn't watch that fight until recently, and I didn't follow that season of TUF since we usually got the show here in Brazil with some good delay.

“It's easy to judge a person without being in their position and knowing what they went through, or what's really going on, so it would be unfair of me to say anything about it.”

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