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Royce Gracie: Demian Maia has everything to break my record in the UFC

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Royce Gracie dominated the early days of the UFC with his jiu-jitsu, scoring 10 submission victories in 13 months between UFC 1 and UFC 4, and fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Demian Maia is getting close to his record.

Maia started his UFC career in 2007, scoring five submissions in his first five bouts as a middleweight. After dropping to welterweight in 2012, the Brazilian tapped four opponents in nine of his wins, putting himself one submission away from Gracie’s UFC record.

"His fight was perfect," Royce Gracie told MMA Fighting of Maia’s quick submission win over Carlos Condit at UFC on FOX 21. "He showed how efficient jiu-jitsu is, and that he can win only using his jiu-jitsu. The way he’s going, he will beat that number and put the record way up [laughs]. He’s doing great."

Maia is the most victorious Brazilian in UFC history with 18 wins, and also set another impressive stat with his quick submission over Condit: Maia’s four last fights combined lasted 39 minutes and 15 seconds, but the jiu-jitsu expert only absorbed 13 significant strikes against Neil Magny, Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown and Condit.

"You don’t need to trade punches or allow getting punched in the face to win the fight, and Demian shows that," Gracie said. "He spent some time wanting to use muay thai, but grew a lot when he started believing in his jiu-jitsu again. You have to work on your stand-up to know what’s coming, but jiu-jitsu is enough to win the fight."

Gracie lists Maia as one of the best grapplers in MMA today, alongside with Fabricio Werdum and Kron Gracie, and believes in his skills to beat current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley if given a title shot.

"He has everything," Gracie said. "He’s a calm fighter, doesn’t get too anxious when he steps in there to try to trade punches. He just goes there and gets the job done."

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