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Wanderlei Believes Demian Maia May Be The Next Champion

Wanderlei Silva believes his good friend and teammate Damian Maia has the goods to put an end to Anderson Silva’s dominant reign over the UFC’s middleweight division.

Wanderlei Silva, a former PRIDE champion who himself plans on dropping to the UFC’s middleweight division, says Maia can succeed where eight other UFC fighters have failed because of his outstanding ground game.

“Demian is the best grappler in The UFC,” Wanderlei Silva told “Five times he has fought in The UFC, four times has taken home Submission of the Night.”

Maia is a highly accomplished grappling champion with multiple world championship titles to his credit. He decided to pick up in 2005 to follow in the footsteps of his idols Royce and Rickson Gracie. Silva believes that Maia uncommonly strong jiu-jitsu will be key to defeating Anderson Silva.

“I think he can beat Anderson. I think for somebody to beat Anderson Silva, he needs to come from a Jiu-Jitsu background. I train with guys of high level Jiu-Jitsu and it’s so hard – when you go to ground it’s so hard man. One, two, three minutes, they’re gonna get you. It’s hard to defend that all the time.

The key for Maia however, may be surviving with Anderson Silva long enough on his feet in order to find an opportunity to get the fight to the ground. Not a problem according to Wanderlei Silva.

“Demian’s trained a lot of boxing, he has good kicks, every fight his level of stand-up goes higher. He will be a big surprise to UFC fans, he will knock out an opponent soon – his hands are so heavy…it will happen soon.”