Against Story, though, he looked like the Maia of old. He blitzed through the American, and on the ground, he worked for a textbook rear-naked choke that turned into a neck crank. Maia squeezed so hard, in fact, blood squirted from Story's nose in a GIF lover's instant Hall of Fame moment.
The win also happened to be Maia's second since dropping from middleweight to welterweight, and he perhaps has hit a new stride at 170 pounds.
"I'm very happy to be in this division. I feel much better with this weight," Maia said at the UFC 153 post-fight news conference in Rio de Janeiro. "I try to not win by points or by decision. I try to do it in a different way. This is for the UFC – the UFC gave me everything I have. I'm very happy for the UFC and very thankful for fighting in Brazil."
His boss, UFC President Dana White, was impressed with Maia's performance, which could go a long way toward title contention if he strings together another couple wins in the division.
"I thought that Demian Maia was in for a tough fight tonight," White said. "Story's a guy who is very hard to take down, and that kid can blast. He's got power in both hands. Demian Maia looked unbelievable tonight. He absolutely controlled that fight, took him down and did whatever he wanted to with him. I was blown away by his performance tonight."
After making quick work of Dong Hyun Kim in July (thanks in part to a Kim injury in the fight) and quick work of Story on Saturday in his home country of Brazil, Maia is 2-0 at welterweight.