Clay Guida is one of the most exciting fighters ever to step foot inside the Octagon but he may never be a champion.
Six times he's won Fight of the Night honors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) but only once did he come out on the winning end. Three of those bouts -- against Tyson Griffin, Roger Huerta, and Diego Sanchez -- were bonafide Fight of the Year contenders and each saw "The Carpenter" fall short.
He got closest to a title shot last November when he and Ben Henderson went toe-to-toe for the three rounds as part of UFC on FOX 1, an appetizer to the heavyweight title fight main course. "Smooth" won that night, went on to defeat Frankie Edgar in Japan and left Guida with a bevy ‘what ifs.'
Before losing to Henderson, though, it seemed as if nothing was going to stop the long-haired madman from winning UFC gold. Capped off by a decision win over former World Extreme Cagefighting Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, "The Carpenter" reeled off three submission victories between March 2010 and January 2011 in his quest for title glory.
To prepare for these two lightweight warriors doing what they do best, we'll take a look at the three submission wins Guida scored to help him get near a title.
Let's dive in.
"The Carptenter" survived two early submission attempts from his opponent -- a guillotine and a triangle choke -- to easily win the opening round by dominating Gugerty on the ground with stifling top control. Guida's experience wrestling in high school as well as his tireless cardio make such a performance relatively easy for him.
As always, the round always starts with both men standing but moments into the second round, Guida looked to alleviate that by clinching up with Gugerty and dropping him to the mat. He withstands another guillotine attempt and unleashes a flurry of ground and pound before sinking in an arm triangle choke, trapping Gugerty's arm above his head while cutting the air from his windpipe.
The second submission on the list didn't come as a result of a twisted limb or from threatening to cut off all oxygen to the brain but instead through Guida's striking ability. He squared off against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 117, making it back onto the main card.
The Brazilian looked great against Guida during the opening two rounds and going into the third and final stanza, it appeared as if his still dim hopes for a title shot would be blackened out forever.
But two things played into "The Carpenter's" favor: knowing he was likely down two rounds, he came out full of steam in the third and also he had broken dos Anjo's jaw in the opening minutes of the bout.
Dos Anjos fought through the injury for nearly 10 minutes but by the time Guida scooped the Brazilian up and slammed him down onto the mat, raining ground and pound on his opponent, dos Anjos was forced to tap out thanks to the two broken bones inside his mouth.
Five months later, he stood opposite Japanese legend Takanori Gomi. "The Fireball Kid" started his UFC career off on shaky ground, getting submitted by Kenny Florian but roared back with a vicious one-hitter-quitter knockout over Tyson Griffin.
The fight is likely best known for Guida's frantic movement during the stand-up exchanges. He was constantly changing levels, at times seemingly for no reason but it was enough to keep the Japanese veteran at bay.
Going into the second round, Gomi was able to find his timing and rocked Guida momentarily who immediately went into survival mode. Lunging for a takedown, "The Fireball Kid" was forced to fight it off while his opponent recovered from the blow.
Back on their feet, Gomi was able to land some solid strikes but a perfectly-timed takedown from "The Carpenter" got the former PRIDE Fighting Championship lightweight kingpin on his back. They scrambled on the canvas with Gomi teasing a kimura submission but in the end, it was Guida who locked in the guillotine choke, forcing his third consecutive opponent to tap.
Will Guida be able to tap out "The Bully" tomorrow night?
Can we scratch his way back towards a title shot?