UFC lightweight Gray Maynard is in Brazil to help featherweight champion Jose Aldo prepare for a fight vs. Chad Mendes at UFC Rio on Jan. 14, 2012, at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While there, he picked up some new skills, including a blue belt in BJJ, bestowed by Jose Aldo's instructor Andre Pederneiras.
In an interview with Tatame, Maynard reflected on the experience.
Erik Engelhart: How did you end up here at Nova Uniao?
Gray Maynard: Me and Jose Aldo met few times at UFC’s backstage. But it was at UFC 136 I met him at the pre-fight press conference. I like the way he fights, and I have always admired him as a person and a fighter. He has always been nice to me and when I knew he was fighting Chad Mendes I offered him some help and he said he’d be grateful. Jose Aldo is a great guy and that’s how I end up here.
EE: Could you tell how Jose Aldo’s takedown defenses are?
GM: He knows how to defend takedowns very well. I trained with him and it was hard for me to take him down ... We’ve watched many of his fights and I can tell you he doesn’t need my help all that much, he’s pretty good at this. I’m just here to push him and help him with the little things and, if I’m able to, cooperate. I’ll try to tell him about my experience at college at Wrestling.
“Training gi Jiu-Jitsu at Nova União. I received my blue belt tonight from Andre Pederneiras! I’m honored”, related Maynard via Twitter.