by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com

Stepping up to his biggest challenge inside the UFC, Clay Guida has gone
from proverbial gatekeeper to a possible immediate contender to the lightweight
title currently held by B.J. Penn. 


Taking on Ultimate Fighter Season One winner Diego Sanchez, a former top
ranked welterweight who is now a lightweight commodity, “The Carpenter” turned “TUF
Killer” will try to make it three in a row over Ultimate Fighter winners this
Saturday Night as the main event of the evening when Season Nine “Team U.S.A.
vs. Team U.K.” wraps up, crowning two new winners in the lightweight and
welterweight class.


Scoring his biggest win to date, a split-decision victory over Ultimate
Fighter bad boy Nate Diaz this past January (earning fight of the night honors
once again), Guida will look to build on his momentous rise in stock when he
goes for his fourth win in a row inside the Octagon against a man he sees as
one of the best in his division. None-the-less, he’s not short of confidence
going into the bout.


“He’s going to be the biggest opponent I’ve had and I think he’s going
to be a little bit more used to cutting the weight now, because I want him on
his best game, just like I want all of my opponents,” explained Guida.


“I don’t want any excuses after I punish him and he’s going to be
looking around; it’s going to be a really lonely place in that cage when he’s
in there with me, I can guarantee that.”


Knowing full well the perks that come when defeating someone as highly
regarded as Sanchez, Guida is using this opportunity to stake his claim, not
only to those who have labeled him as an “underdog,” but also to establish his
rightful spot amongst the elite in his weight class, moving one step closer to
what is every hungry fighter’s dream… challenging for the title.


“I’m here to show that I am the best fighter in the UFC at the
lightweight division. I know deep down in my heart that I’m gonna
out work you in the cage; I’m gonna out work you in the gym. I think it matters
more in the cage, but the work’s done this week. I’ve already
done my training camp, victory is in hand, I know it.”


Now with all the hard work finished and the prize within his grasp, Guida
will look to approach this fight with this same demeanor that he has with his
past successful performances, remaining patient and sticking to his game, while
not allowing others to dictate the action, which was admittedly a flaw that he
tends to get caught up with. Yet, he asserts that he has cut his faults to
become a stronger fighter.


“I thank Roger (Huerta). It was an amazing fight. I’m surprised that, if
you look at that fight, we were standing toe-to-toe, slugging it out; I was
getting the takedowns and frustrating him. I was surprised; we were landing
some heavy punches. A lot of times, that’s the way to test someone’s chin, but
also I made him fight my fight for a while, but then I got caught up in his
style which is to brawl. Make it a brawl, that’s the way that he’s been


With those experiences in the past, Guida will utilize his confidence
and “go get ‘em” style to not only earn his biggest win
to date in front of another ruckus Las Vegas crowd (with The Ultimate Fighter Finales
infamous for their legendary fights), the Illinois native will also fulfill a
lifelong dream, that may be realized with one defining moment on Saturday


“I want to test myself against every fighter. I want to show everyone
that I am a dominant fighter in the lightweight division, in the world. Line
them up. Night and day, I think about Diego, that’s it.”