by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Nicknamed “The Bully”, Gray Maynard looks to live up to his moniker when he faces Rich Clementi at UFC 90 this weekend in Chicago, Ill. Maynard has gone 3-0 in the Octagon with only one no contest. The Las Vegas resident was a product of the Ultimate Fighter season five and made it to the semi-finals before losing to Nate Diaz by a guillotine choke.
Immediately after that fight, he fought Rob Emerson at the Ultimate Fighter finale and had one of the strangest outcomes in MMA history. Maynard picked up Emerson and slammed him to the canvas, knocking himself out when his head hit the canvas; simultaneously, Rob Emerson tapped out due to a rib injury. Although Maynard claimed he was fine, the fight was ruled a no contest.
Maynard quickly erased the memory of that fight in his subsequent outing when he knocked out Joe Veres in just nine seconds. He built upon that win with a unanimous decision over Dennis Siver and was offered a fight with undefeated Frankie Edgar three months later. Many thought that Edgar would be too tough for Maynard, but he proved the doubters wrong by pressuring Edgar and taking him down at will to earn the decision victory.
Now Maynard looks to continue his unbeaten streak against Rich “No Love” Clementi. “I want to keep the momentum going until I’m done. He’s a tough kid and he’s been doing good,” Maynard said in reference to Edgar. “I know he had a good fight in July. I just got to keep back in the gym, of course, and keep going. There is a lot that you have to get in there and learn. This is a sport where it’s changing all the time. You got to keep on top of it.”
It has been six months since Maynard’s last fight, but his inactivity isn’t without reason. “I broke my hand, so I had to,” he explained. “I was pretty much back in the gym after three weeks. It’s alright.”
Fighting out of one of the best camps around in Xtreme Couture gives Maynard an advantage that not many other fighters have because of the talent athletes that trains there. Maynard believes that having the multitude of training partners is invaluable.
“We train and stuff two times a day. We had in [Sam] Stout. He came in and trained. There were a bunch of guys obviously. Jay Hieron, we had [Mike] Pyle. We were all peaking around the same time. I know Jay and Pyle had a fight two weeks ago, so it was pretty good.”
Sam Stout previously fought Clementi back in April where he lost a split decision. Having a training partner with experience against a common opponent could be seen as an advantage, but that may not be the case with this upcoming match as Stout and Maynard have vastly different fighting styles. For that reason, Maynard doesn’t really feel that it will be much of an advantage. “It helps, but you kind of have to keep a game plan that would work for you. It helps a little bit.”
Maynard is highly regarded as a tough wrestler who relies mostly on his take downs. For this fight “The Bully” may be obliged to change things up a bit, especially for an opponent that is very versatile and can fight anywhere.
“I like to change it up,” Maynard stated. “He’s been around for a long time. He’s just a good guy. It’s going to be one where I’m going to have to be careful. He’s a tough guy. I got to be careful.”