When a Brazilian loses to an opponent not indigenous to their country on a UFC card, you can hear a pin drop. There isn't another reference that describes a lesser degree of silence than that, but if Demian Maia were to get submitted by Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 29 on Wednesday night (Oct. 9, 2013) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, we may just hear what it sounds like.
"That would be ideal for me," Shields told MMAmania.com recently. "Demian Maia being the top jiu-jitsu guy in the welterweight division and in Brazil, it would be amazing to go out there and submit him. The fans wouldn't be too happy, but it's what I would love to do."
It has been four years since the Cesar Gracie trained black belt last won by submission, a guillotine victory over Robbie Lawler in Strikeforce in June 2009. He is long overdue to earn a win using his greatest skill set.
Shields explained the long layoff, saying, "a lot of these guys have definitely tried to avoid me on the ground, so I have to work on getting the fight to my world."
Maia will most likely not be in the same company of not wanting to engage with the former Strikeforce and EliteXC champion on the ground. Although the Brazilian has only landed one submission in his last 11 fights, he is 3-0 since his move to 170 and has looked great and returned to form by focusing on his grappling prowess.
"For this fight, Demian Maia is going to welcome coming into my world," Shields said. "Our strongest points are the same, so this is going to be a very interesting fight."
Grappling and jiu-jitsu fans alike would be salivating at seeing two of the most decorated ground technicians exchange in scrambles, sweeps, passes and escapes for three rounds. There are a combined 15 submission victories between both black belts respectively, to go along with the countless awards received in grappling competitions.
"I'm ready for a Jiu-Jitsu war with Maia, ideally," Shields stated.
After seeing his last few fights, it would seem he'd have to be ready for a war. Maia appears to be a different animal at welterweight, as opposed to what he was at middleweight.
"He's really big at 170, compared to being a little small at 185, and also, part of the reason he has looked so good is because he's gone back to his roots of grappling instead of trying to be a stand-up fighter," Shields said. "He's just gone straight out and taken guys down and submitted them."
Maia submitted Rick Story with a nasty neck crank at UFC 153, the last time he fought in Brazil, but it was his absolute domination of former top-10 welterweight Jon Fitch, that garnered the most attention.
"That win was very impressive," Shields said. "Jon Fitch was one of the greatest UFC welterweights and he was dominated," he said, before adding that it's a fight he has "watched several times" in preparation for UFC Fight Night 29.
Shields has yet to have a marquee performance in the Octagon.
The 34-year-old fighter once held a 15-fight winning streak, defeated Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit in one night at Rumble on the Rock 9 and dominated Dan Henderson in his last fight in Strikeforce. In UFC, he has eked out three decision victories (the unanimous decision victory over Ed Herman was overturned to a no contest due to a failed drug test), was finished in under a minute by Jake Ellenberger and dominated by Georges St-Pierre, for a 3-2 and 1 NC record.
With the UFC cutting notable fighters like Fitch and Okami, the California-based fighter was asked if he has any concern he could be next if he doesn't turn in a solid performance on Wednesday night in Brazil.
"Of course, a little bit," Shields admitted. "You never know. You always want job security, so I need to go out there and win and win in dominant fashion."
He could be overdue for a breakout performance, or destined for another close decision, but if Shields and Maia engage in an epic battle and win the crowd, even in a loss he should be safe from the chopping block. If he can end his four-year submission drought and submit Maia in Sao Paulo, he will undoubtedly silence the Brazilian fans.
Whatever goes down on Wednesday night, Shields says he wants to be at his best.
"I want to go out there and dominate this fight. I want to go out there and make it a great fight. I feel very ready to put on a great performance."