Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Clay Guida (28-11) went toe-to-toe with Japanese sensation Takanori Gomi (32-7) at UFC 125: "Resolution" last Saturday night (Jan. 1), defeating the former PRIDE star with a guillotine choke, earning him perhaps the biggest win of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
"The Carpenter" tells Pro MMA Radio that his victory over "The Fireball Kid" was one of his best performances.
"I think it's pretty safe to say this is one of my top two or three wins. Going against Josh Thomson and being the first Strikeforce lightweight champion is huge. My UFC debut victory by submission over Justin James was one of my favorite fights."
When given the chance, Gomi has the ability to knock anybody out with one punch. Guida realized this and knew he had to utilize his head movement to get out of the way of danger.
"The plan was to not stand in front of him and be more like a fly. It was ugly, but it got the job done. Not standing in his range and just opening up our takedowns. My speed has definitely been my strength in the cage. It's hard to trace a guy that's always on his horse."
If his win over Gomi is any indication of the future performances of Guida, the 155-pound division has been put on notice.
The last three victories for "The Carpenter" have ended in submission. Guida is no stranger to submissions as he has 15 of them on his record.
"You look at my early days, I was submitting guys. It was never like a triangle or off my back Jiu-Jitsu or armbars. I was more punching until taking the guy's back and choking him. A submission is a submission. I think I had 11 or 12 submissions in one year."
Ever since joining world-renowned MMA coach Greg Jackson, Guida has evolved into a well-rounded competitor.
"One word, structure. I've rededicated myself to becoming a world champion. That's why I got in this sport, to challenge myself everyday. It's a competition against myself. I love having that competitive edge. Wrestling is very different from a lot of traditional martial arts and sports itself. It's a lot of discipline, it's self-confidence. If that passion doesn't die, you're gonna be champion."
After Nate Marquardt failed to push the pace against Yushin Okami in their middleweight number one contender bout at UFC 122, the Jackson camp was under heavy criticism by UFC President Dana White. Much like Jackson, Guida says the statistics speak for themselves.
"Dana's an amazing business man. Without him I wouldn't be doing this right now. You don't become coach of the year twice in a row by accident. Maybe what he said was a little hasty, a little premature. You've seen a lot of Jackson fighters putting guys away. If you look at the track record, we have a win percentage of 80-plus. It is the greatest gym in the world."
Guida was the recipient of the Tequila Cazadores Spirit Award for his honor and integrity both in and outside the Octagon. "The Carpenter" himself can't believe it.
"That to me is just unbelievable. I dedicate that to the UFC and all the fighters. That's not just for me individually, that's for all the hard work these fighters put in. It's amazing how dedicated these people (fans) are. With the downturn in the economy and events are still selling out."