UFC lightweight Clay Guida has developed quite the reputation for himself.
Throughout his time fighting under the banner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the incredibly exciting lightweight has earned three “Fight of the Night” bonuses and entertained fans in a way few other fighters have done on such a consistent basis.
In 2009, Guida took part in one of the most entertaining fights in the history of the promotion when he battled Diego Sanchez at “The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale”. The two lightweights kicked off the fight with an incredible flurry, setting a pace for the three round war that took home “Fight of the Year” honors.
But regardless of his fight with Sanchez and the several other wars the lightweight brawler has been a part of, Guida says that, even though his fights are nearly always extraordinarily entertaining, he unfailingly enters the cage with a gameplan, courtesy of his coaches, who have developed a recipe for success.
“Being under the watchful eye of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, we always have gameplans,” Guida told HeavyMMA.com earlier this week. “A, B, C, and D. You have to be ready to switch it up. We know our punches open up our takedowns, our takedowns open up our ground and pound, our ground and pound opens up our submissions.”
Guida’s ability to follow a gameplan has been displayed in his last two outings, as he defeated Shannon Gugerty and Rafael dos Anjos each by submission. However, his desire to rise through the ranks of the competitive lightweight division has Guida set up against one of the division’s most effective power punchers in Takanori Gomi in a bout where the outcome relies heavily on his ability to stick to a strategy.
Gomi, who defeated Tyson Griffin last August, was once a top lightweight who was fond of the knockout finish. Now, “The Fireball Kid” looks to build off the knockout victory he earned in his last outing against the iron-chinned Guida at UFC 125 on January 1.
Guida will enter this bout fully aware of the dangers his opponent poses on the feet. But Gomi’s striking is not the only thing Guida respects, as “The Carpenter” sees the desire and intensity his opponent brings to the cage each and every outing, which is something he certainly sees in himself. Guida understands that when a style like his and Gomi’s come together, “Fight of the Night” honors will usually be the end result, but a perfect gameplan will be a must in order to avoid the threat of Gomi on the feet.
“Every fight that our styles are in are potential Fight of the Night,” Guida said. “He goes out there and wings it and you know he’s going to be right there in the pocket firing punches. (In every one of his fights), it’s either going to be a bloodbath or someone’s going to get knocked out.”
While his future opponent may boast an impressive striking pedigree, having earned 12 career knockouts, Guida’s style is based heavily on his impressive wrestling base and submission prowess. Throughout his 38-fight career, he has earned14 submission finishes, which account for just over half of his wins.
Now, Guida may have gotten away from his strong point at times throughout his UFC career, electing to stand and bang against superior strikers such as Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez, but the Jackson Submission Fighting product knows where his true strength lies and, as of late, he has went back to his roots to return to his winning ways, knowing that his ground game provides him the best opportunity for success.
“That’s what got me here to this point in my UFC career,” Guida said. “The first couple years I had submission after submission after submission it seemed like. My wrestling and ground and pound is one of those styles that’s just fast paced.”
“I kind of just start flailing stuff and opponents get uncomfortable on their back and make a mistake and they stick their head out there for the choke. Or I just hit them with a punch and they give up their back. I think that is what’s going to propel me to the top of the division.”
Guida’s desire to rise to the top of the lightweight division is obvious every time he fights inside the Octagon. The man always displays a ridiculously high level of fitness, never gassing out, and simply refuses to exit the cage without giving everything he has to give in order to take home the victory.
While wrestling has often been linked to what some would call “boring” fights, Guida has found the proper style in order to be effective while entertaining all those in attendance and those watching around the world. His style is relentless, exhilarating, effective, and, he believes, is the factor which will launch him into the next tier of the competitive 155 lb. division; a trek which continues at UFC 125 against Gomi this Saturday night.