MMAInsider caught up with UFC lightweight Gray Maynard on Wednesday to get his thoughts on his performance against Rich Clementi at UFC 90.
Maynard was coming back from a few days of country breakfasts and R & R with his sister in Lansing, Michigan. Maynard wrestled alongside Rashad Evans at Michigan State University and was a three-time All-American.
Maynard took a lot of flack for the Clementi fight, not the least of which was booing when the decision was handed down. It was a new experience for the TUF 5 alum, and not a nice feeling.
“I hate it, because there were a lot of boos, and that sucks,” he said. “I just feel that it was like ‘that fight sucked.’ And I don’t want that. But that was pretty much how it had to go.”
Maynard felt the two were even on their feet. Clementi’s southpaw antics had him frustrated. So he went back to his proven strength: wrestling.
“He came out and threw a kick, and I was like, whoa,” Maynard continued. “Don’t get caught with a crazy kick and get KO’d. I was like, alright, this is kind of even, and I don’t want it to go to the cards pretty close. So I was like, let’s take him down.”
He met even more resistance on the ground. Clementi’s jiu-jitsu cancelled out his wrestling. A few big elbows and punches found their place, but as the fight wore on, Maynard’s opportunities shrank.
“He was just really tough to score on,” Maynard said. “He has a good guard, tricky. He tied me up really good. I don’t know.”
Maynard had been studying with boxing coach Gil Martinez for eight weeks, so the worst part was not being able to showcase his stand-up skills. Both Martinez and coach Randy Couture told him it wasn’t his most exciting performance, but it was a smart game plan. In Maynard’s young career, Couture has consistently told him to be more patient.
“I used to just go out and scrap,” Maynard said. “It’s just me, I guess. I’m a guy who wants to dominate, and I box everyday with pros, and I want to prove it too. I can’t wait to prove it.”
It’s not exactly news that fights between wrestlers and jiu-jitsu artists can stalemate quickly. But that’s no consolation for the Xtreme Couture lightweight.
“I’ve been talking to the cows,” Maynard jokes about chasing his blues away. “And the crazy thing is, they’ve been taking back.”