by Samantha L. Johnson – MMAWeekly.com
It’s been nearly nine months since Clay Guida started working with the Albuquerque, N.M., based Jackson’s MMA. Since first joining the camp before his fight with Kenny Florian in December 2009, Guida has notices a vast improvement in his skills.
“Not only do I see (the improvement), but my coaches and my teammates around me see it,” he said. “To me it helps build confidence when people say, ‘Your hands are looking much better’ or ‘Your takedown defense is looking awesome’ and ‘You’re feeling explosive’ and stuff like that. Not like a bunch of Yes-men, but guys that notice things… a couple of camps and I’m already better.”
Though Guida lost via submission to Florian, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, he came back his next fight to defeat Shannon Gugerty with an arm triangle choke. Jiu-jitsu is just one of the many facets of Guida’s game that have improved since joining the new camp. His striking and wrestling has also gotten better.
“When I first came up for the Florian fight, Cowboy, Donald Cerrone… he was tying me up like a pretzel and submitting me left and right,” said Guida. “Cub Swanson was putting on jiu-jitsu clinics with me, sweeping me, putting me in any hold he wanted to. I feel like I’ve overcome the just getting tossed around and it’s a testament to training with guys like that. Now I’m asking questions and being assertive and not afraid to try different things in practice.”
Past the ragdoll phase, Guida can now focus on bettering himself in preparation for Rafael dos Anjos. Dos Anjos (14-4) is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and has been training Muay Thai under several of the Sityodtong instructors. The Brazilian is on a three-fight win streak, most recently beating Terry Etim at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, a victory that also scored him the Submission of the Night bonus.
“Rafael, we all know he’s dangerous on the ground,” said Guida. “But hell, you look at his stand-up and it’s gotten so much better. I’ve been watching a lot of film on him. He threw almost 50 kicks against Rob Emerson, who is known to be a very good Muay Thai practitioner. His last fight, Terry Etim, he did very well with inside leg kicks; so his striking has definitely come around.”
Noting the improvements in Dos Anjos’ game, Guida’s coaches, Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn, have adjusted “The Carpenter’s” game plan. While Guida is a fighter that has always fought his own fight, with little regard to his opponent’s game plan, his new coaches
are taking into account the progression of his opponent.
“Everyone knows Clay fights his best when I fight my style,” said Guida. “When I go out there and I bring the pace and I pick the punches and stuff like that. When I shoot my takedowns and I’m in my opponent’s face and doing my thing. Being under the watchful eye of Greg (Jackson) and Mike Winklejohn, they know I’ll start putting these guys away soon… I’m looking for a full onslaught from (Dos Anjos). I’m going to shut him down and get to the ground, get some takedowns, work my own stand-up, and just cancel out his whole onslaught.”
L. Johnson is a freelance writer originally from Southeast Idaho, currently
living in Las Vegas, NV. Visit her at http://www.sxjohnson.net
for her ramblings of on living in the MMA Mecca.