Just a few days shy of his 40th birthday, Clay Guida picked up one of the most remarkable wins of his already Hall of Fame career.
That’s not to say it was easy.
For about 90 seconds, Leonardo Santos beat the shit out of “The Carpenter.” Initially wounding his foe with a stabbing front kick to the mid-section, Santos landed dozens of strikes trying to get Guida out of there. When Guida’s arms desperately covered his torso, Santos landed knees direct to the skull. Guida ducked, dove for takedowns, and kept his guard up, but he was fully on the defensive and in a world of hurt.
The vast majority of pro fighters would not have returned to their feet after the knee knockdown. Hell, a fair percentage would’ve covered up and let the end come from several of the punishing shots that landed.
It took everything he had, but Guida kept moving, and ultimately, he survived.
At almost the exact midway point of the first round, Guida finally was able to untangle himself from Santos’ grasp and get his back off the fence. Immediately, it was clear that the 41-year-old Brazilian had exhausted himself chasing the finish. Guida took perhaps 20 seconds to clear his head, then he immediately started chasing after Santos, swinging big hooks.
Before long, Guida had scored his first takedown, finished the round in top position, and perhaps negated the 10-8 round with his rally. The judges’ scorecards hardly matter though, because Guida promptly strangled his utterly spent opponent — who just so happens to be a decorated jiu-jitsu black belt — in the second.
In the post-fight interview, the two most common Guida catchphrases (in real life and social media alike) made their appearance: “wrestling is life” and “the best is yet to come.” Let’s talk about the second one.
On one hand, the “best is yet to come” mantra is a perfectly fitting one, a reflection of his inner drive. Guida’s endless energy is a positive force, an inspiring one. It’s the source of his ability to do all the hard training — the constant runs, hard sparring, and miserable wrestling rounds — that most older veterans skip.
It’s what allows him to keep winning fights.
At the same time, Guida is long in the tooth. He’s turning 40 and has 58 professional fights to his name. At this stage of the game, is Guida going to go on a run that breaks him into the Top Five, like his 2010-2011 run? That specific best is likely to remain where it stands.
In those nearly 60 fights, has Guida ever scored a better comeback win? I think not. This one is the best — clearly! “The Carpenter” added to his legacy last night, and who’s to say he cannot do it again in the future.
The best is yet to come.
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