For TUF 13 Finale competitor Clay Guida, the road to the top of the lightweight division has been traveled a few times already. Sure, he’s hit a few roadblocks along the way, but they have only stopped him for a short time before he gets right back up on the horse — or recreational vehicle — and fights his way back up the trail.
This time around, he’s one a three-fight win streak and looking to get back in the mix of title contention. The person standing in his way, however, is none other than the last WEC lightweight champion of the world, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
Pettis made quite the name for himself when he defeated Ben Henderson for the WEC lightweight title back in December of last year. It was, of course, the kick heard round the world, where he jumped off the cage and landed a devastating kick to Henderson’s head, that gave Pettis the huge push into MMA stardom.
Since then, he’s been waiting to fight the winner of the Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard trilogy, but since both of them are injured and waiting to get healthy, Pettis will have the task of taming Clay Guida.
Pettis is still riding high off his win over Henderson and fans anticipate some excitement when he finally makes his UFC debut, but Guida is more than confident he can knock down the momentum.
“He’s riding a big wave and he’s going to hit that sea wall June 4, and it’s going to be called Clay Guida,” Guida told MMAWeeklyRadio.
Stopping that much momentum would take a great deal of energy. But if you’ve watched Guida fight over the course of his eight-year career, you’ll find that he seems to never run out of the juice that powers his engine and stays revving at a high octane.
Clay Guida is the ball of kinetic energy often mistaken for a human being.
That high rate of intensity in the Octagon has become what Guida is best known for and it’s served him well since coming to the UFC back in 2006. He’s made a name for himself and earned a shot at the guy who is next in line to compete for UFC gold. Guida, however, feels there might be some other names that deserve a shot at the lightweight title before Pettis does; fighters who have been through and seen the toughest fights.
To Guida, it was a matter of unifying the the UFC and WEC belts that set Pettis up to compete against the winner of Edgar and Maynard.
“Yeah, he’s fought a lot of guys,” he said about Pettis. “If you look at some of these guys that are put through the ringer in the UFC, I think there’s some guys ahead of him. And I’m going to make it so people believe that I’m ahead of him after I finish him in this fight.
“The UFC (and) Joe Silva want to unify the belt, so that’s kind of why they gave him an instant title shot. Unfortunately, he signed on the dotted line to fight me.”
Guida feels he’s gotten razor-close to being in contention for a title a couple times before. As luck would have it, this will be the third time he’s made his way up to getting in the mix for title talk. This time, he shoots to make sure people know who he is and what he’s about.
“We were close before we lost to Huerta, we were close when before we lost to Diego Sanchez, but third time’s a charm,” he said. “I’m 0-2 at The Palms and it’s time to set the record straight and show people who the number one contender really is.
“Now, I know that I’m 100-percent ready to make my run and I’m going to make it worth while. People are going to see who the most exciting lightweight fighter is.”
In preparation for his fight with Pettis, Guida has spent his time with Greg Jackson and his camp down in Albuquerque, N.M. While there, he and fellow lightweight Donald Cerrone have been tirelessly preparing and grinding to make sure Guida’s striking is up to par. Against Pettis, he’ll have to make sure his stand-up is razor sharp. Guida is confident that will happen because he views Cerrone as second to none when it comes to strikers at 155 pounds.
“Me and Donald (have) been working on a daily basis,” he said. “To me, he’s the best lightweight striker in the world. I’d put him up in there against anybody.”
Names like Florian, Penn, Barboza, and Pettis are all mentioned as fighters Cerrone would fare well against, according to Guida. So confident is he in the Jackson’s striker, Guida believes working with Cerrone will provide him the tools he needs to beat Pettis on Saturday night in Las Vegas and get him further up the lightweight ladder en route to a UFC title shot.
“I’m bringing the tool belt,” he said. “And we’re going to use every single tool in it.”
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