Clay Guida embodies the UFC
No fighter embodies what the UFC is about more than Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida. While the UFC loves to celebrate its champions, ultimately Dana White and the Fertitta brothers have always strived to create a promotion that is about more than big name fighters.
In their mind, the UFC is about two multi-skilled men entering the cage and giving absolutely everything to prove themselves and entertain the crowd.
No one in the UFC’s history has exemplified this more than the man they call ‘The Carpenter’.
With a record of 29-12, the former Strikeforce champion is no easy beat, but far more impressive than his basic record is this; in his 15 UFC fights he has earned:
- Six fight of the night awards.
- Two fight of the year awards.
- Two submission of the night awards.
When ‘The Carpenter’ comes to play, you know he is going to bring it.
At the core of everything Guida does is the kind of cardio you would find in an elite marathon runner. He just does not tire, no matter how fast the fight or how much he moves. And boy does he move…
Watching Guida is like watching a bored fidgety child crossed with the Energizer bunny; he circles side to side, fires off a few leg and body kicks, pops inside the pocket and lets off a few punches before ducking out, he bobs up and then bobs down and rushes in for a takedown.
If he gets you down expect relentless ground and pound and constant squirming as he looks for a better position.
If you squirm out of his takedown, you had better recover quickly because Guida has already started kicking you again.
The only time Guida pauses in a fight is to brush his mop of hair out of his face. You could hit him in the face with a brick and he would just get back up and keep swinging.
Yet, despite his impressive speed and cardio, Guida is an underdog. He is solid without standing out. He doesn’t have the silky striking skills of a Fankie Edgar, the wrestling pedigree of a Gray Maynard or the flashy knockout power of a Melvin Guillard.
As his nickname suggests, his success has come from a good old fashioned blue-collar work ethic. Starting with a wrestling base, Guida has developed a well-rounded striking and submission game.
However, his progress towards the top of the lightweight division has been slow and too often he has been defined as the loser of a super entertaining fight.
His most recent loss, against Ben Henderson at the first UFC on Fox, is a prime example. Guida wasn’t able to impose his will and ended up losing. In the past he has admitted to being drawn into fighting to his opponent’s strengths.
This weekend against Gray Maynard, the man who twice came within a whisker of beating Frankie Edgar, Guida once again has the chance to put up his hand as a title contender.
To be honest, though, while a title would be a great reward for all the hard work and entertainment he has provided, most fans’ love for ‘The Carpenter’ will not wane if his hand is not raised.
We love him for the way he fights, not the result.
If you have never seen a Clay Guida fight, I implore you to hunt down Guida versus Tyson Griffin at UFC 72. It is the first MMA fight I ever watched and it is still the best bout I have ever seen.
It is a back and forth war that shows off everything Guida is about, and by extension shows off everything this sport should be about.