New York's Louis Gaudinot had some high expectations set upon him after he was Team Bisping's first pick at bantamweight during The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14.
Despite being a natural flyweight, the green-haired menace entered the show and displayed no fear, defeating the much-heralded European bantamweight Paul McVeigh in the elimination round to get on the show with a third round technical knockout.
Unfortunately for Gaudinot, the party ended in the round of eight when he was matched up against the very long and dangerous Dustin Pague, who had a significant size and reach advantage on him and utilized it to perfection en route to scoring a second round submission.
Training out of Team Tiger Schulmann, Gaudinot is hoping to last long enough in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for the promotion to finally add the flyweight division, as he was the Ring of Combat flyweight champion before signing up for the Spike TV reality series.
Gaudinot will compete tonight (Dec. 3, 2011) on the main card of The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale against bantamweight semifinalist Johnny Bedford in what looks to be a very compelling match up. He spoke with MMAmania.com about UFC adding a flyweight division, the story of his first fight and how he plans on breaking down Bedford tonight in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I saw that you and a couple other guys on the show were always bugging Dana White about when the flyweights were gonna be in the UFC. What did he have to say when you guys would bring it up with him?
Louis Gaudinot: Yeah, every time we saw him, me, John Dodson, Josh Ferguson were always saying, "Dana, when are you gonna bring the flyweights?" and his response was, "Soon, a lot sooner than you guys think," and then he basically told us the first quarter, the first half of 2012 they were looking to bring them in. Hopefully that's true and then I can cut down to my natural weight class.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): That would be terrific because I know you're a very talented flyweight. How difficult is it to have to go in there against these bigger guys?
Louis Gaudinot: Well, my last fight with Pague I had to deal with a guy who had something like a 13 inch reach advantage so that was a little rough but with this training camp, I knew who I was fighting a couple weeks out and I was able to practice that instead of just finding out two days before the fight like on the show and having to come up with a gameplan in the course of two days.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Going against Johnny Bedford, he had some serious issues against John Dodson. Bedford had the wrestling background but Dodson had such a low base that it was really difficult to take him down. Do you feel like you're in a similar situation to where he'll have similar problems against you?
Louis Gaudinot: I definitely think for him to take a double leg or single leg shot on me, it'll be a lot harder than if he were fighting someone taller simply because I'm so much lower than he is so in that aspect, his height advantage might actually be a disadvantage. Just like I said in the Dodson fight, I think he'll try to get double underhooks, maybe get a trip to try and take me down but I'll have to look to get inside his range and keep the fight standing.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You got eliminated a bit early on the show against Pague in the quarterfinals, so I was just wondering what did you do to pass the time? I saw that T.J. Dillashaw was saying that a lot of guys were eating whatever they wanted and partying throughout the show because they didn't have to worry about making weight or anything anymore.
Louis Gaudinot: Well, I was eating whatever I wanted from the very beginning because weight wasn't an issue for me. Us flyweights, we were in the kitchen all the time cooking and my mom said it was funny, every time she watched the show there was food in my hands whether I was eating a bowl of cereal or a steak or a sandwich, she was like, "Any time I ever see you in the background, you're eating," and I was able to eat what I wanted. It kinda sucked because after my fight I had stitches in my nose for two weeks and I couldn't kickbox, I couldn't grapple. I just worked on the mitts a lot with one of the assistant coaches and went from there.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Having an opportunity to be on the show and train with Michael Bisping and some of his coaches, did you take away anything new in your training that you brought back to the Tiger Schulmann team?
Louis Gaudinot: Yeah, I didn't take anything away that would totally alter my game but I definitely picked up some tips and tricks. Razor Rob's got great Muay Thai and great stand-up. Tiki knows his wrestling real good and how to put everything together. I learned a couple weight-cutting tricks from some of the coaches and even the guys in the house so it was definitely a good experience and I took a lot away from it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I just read that new book by Jim Genia about the underground New York fighting scene and he talked a lot about the Tiger Schulmann team and you actually make a pretty big appearance in there talking about your first fight and how you stepped up and took on a guy with zero notice whatsoever. Could you tell that story? I'd love to hear your take on it.
Louis Gaudinot: Yeah, I was 17 years old and I think it was about two weeks before I was going away to college and I actually went to see a bunch of my teammates who were fighting, we had four or five of them that night and it was a kickboxing event. My coach comes out and he goes, "Hey, there's a guy in the back and his opponent didn't show up. Do you want to fight him? He's the same weight as you," and I actually had went to the event with my mom and since I was only 17 at the time, they needed somebody to sign my paperwork. My coach was like, "Hey, I'm his father," and he signed off on all the paperwork. My mom came in and she was like, "Where's Louis? He was supposed to be sitting next to me," and one of my friends told her, "Oh, he's in the back, he's gloved up, he's fighting tonight," and she was kinda shocked and nervous but she went into the back and said, "Good luck," and I ended up winning in the third round with a TKO. That was my first fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): That's crazy. I love that story. Can you tell me about the camaraderie of the Tiger Schulmann team? You have a lot of talented guys, Lyman Good, Jimmie Rivera, Nick Pace. Can you tell me about that?
Louis Gaudinot: Yeah, we're not really a team, man. We're more like a family. Me, Nick, Jimmie, whenever we have fights, we all go out and help each other. Jimmie was with me training and helping me keep my weight low. Whenever we have a fight coming up, we all stay at the training center. We've got a room with bunk beds when we're getting ready for a fight. These guys are all coming up and they'll be in the UFC soon too.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, as you mention it, I thought that this season had so much talent that even some guys that lost in the elimination round could potentially earn an invite to the UFC. Has Jimmie Rivera heard anything? I thought that he was especially a guy that they'd be looking at.
Louis Gaudinot: Yeah, Jimmie's just kinda laying around waiting for the phone call. He actually had a fight scheduled two weeks ago and the week of the fight, the guy's medicals didn't go through and they had to cancel the fight so he's just trying to wait for that call and I'd expect it sooner rather than later. When he fought on the show, he moved up a weight class. He's actually a 135-er and he actually moved up to 145 for the show and he was kicking the shit out of Dennis Bermudez in the first round and he just kinda got caught in the second. He lost to a guy that's fighting in the finals and I don't think it's gonna take him long to be in the UFC. In 2012, we'll see Jimmie Rivera in the UFC.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'd like to talk about you a little bit. Can you tell me about your mentality once those cage doors close, what's going through your head?
Louis Gaudinot: A lot of people get nervous, but I only get nervous right before I walk out. Leading up to a fight I don't get that nervous but when I'm about to walk out right before they call my name, it's running through my head, "Why the hell are you doing this? You're about to be locked in the cage with somebody who's gonna try to kick the shit out of me," but once my music comes on and I head out, my mind gets focused and those thoughts go away. I'm out there and I'm having fun, man. When I fight, there's a smile on my face looking across at the guy and it's not really nerve wracking to me once I get in there. I kind of calm down a little bit but it's definitely fun man. I love being in front of a couple thousand people and there's no better feeling than winning, when you knock somebody out or submit them and everyone's screaming and going crazy. There's no drug, there's no high, there's no other experience in the world that can compare to that and come Saturday, that's what I'll be hunting for.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): This is a sport that can be riddled with superstition a little bit. Do you have any pre-fight rituals or superstitions that you go through?
Louis Gaudinot: The only thing is that I always wear the same underwear when I fight. They're not dirty or anything, I wash them but I always wear the same underwear when I fight and the same fight shorts. For this fight, they're not letting me wear my same fight shorts so I'm gonna wear them underneath the "Team Bisping" ones. That's really my only superstition.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): My last question for you, when you're visualizing success, how do you see yourself getting a victory against Johnny Bedford?
Louis Gaudinot: I see myself just grinding it out and I'm looking for that knockout finish. Hopefully I get it in the third round. I want to kind of drag it out a little bit. I know he's cutting a lot of weight and I want to get it out to the later rounds so he starts getting tired and starts questioning his conditioning. I definitely want to get that knockout.
Louis would like to thank his whole team at Team Tiger Schulmann, his training partners Jimmie Rivera and Nick Pace and all his coaches, his boxing coach Ray Velez, Ronnie Schulmann, all those guys and you can check him out on twitter @LouGaudinotUFC.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will Gaudinot be able to utilize his gameplan against a very game Johnny Bedford? Or will that large size and reach disadvantage be too much for him?