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Clay Guida: 'The Best Is Yet to Come'

Clay Guida brings his trademark hair and his workman pace against previous no. 1 lightweight contender Kenny Florian this Saturday at UFC 107 in Memphis, Tenn.

Guida has a chance to send a message to the night's victor between champion BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez, a title bout main eventing the card.

In this FanHouse exclusive, Guida talks about his new camp under Greg Jackson and clears up the story behind his exclusion from the UFC 2009 Undisputed video game.

Ray Hui: Now that you've training under Greg Jackson for several months, what's it like training there compared to how you've prepared for fights in the past?

Clay Guida: Greg is the best MMA coach inside and outside of the UFC. He's dialed in a little differently than every other coach that I've worked with. He has a different way of teaching that breaks it down for guys like myself that catch on at a different pace than others, and not to mention the depth at the gym. The lightweights and the little guys out there is like an all-star cast. I fit right in there and it'll be interesting to see ... The best is yet to come December 12.

Will you continue training at Jackson's for all your future fights?


Guida: Definitely. I'll be training there for my upcoming fights.

Where does a win over Kenny Florian put you?

Guida: The win over Kenny Florian separates me from the rest of the pack. The lightweight division has a lot of depth and I think it puts me one of the top spots to fight the winner of BJ [Penn] vs. Diego [Sanchez], and maybe not immediately, but it definitely gets us right back in the mix. The loss against Diego wasn't a terrible loss. Everyone who saw that fight knows it was maybe one that could have gone either way, and it kind of solidified me as a contender in the lightweight division.

I understand you specifically asked for this Florian fight.


Guida: As a matter of fact, as they were raising BJ's hand [at UFC 101], I texted and called both Dana [White] and Joe Silva, and said 'I want to fight Kenny." So we sought out this fight immediately. We had to wait, unfortunately, a couple months after the fight for ours, but this was the fight I wanted to bounce back from after the close loss to Diego.

There's a common link between Florian and your new camp. Greg Jackson and Firas Zahabi at Tri-Star Gym have a working relationship and have cornered Georges St-Pierre together. Zahabi will be on Florian's side. What's it going to be like to have them coach against one another for this fight?


Guida: Sure, yeah. [Laughs.] I'm just going to go out there and do what I do best. And that's put on a show, and get my hand raised at the end. I don't really pay attention to all the coaching and all that. Who's in who's corner doesn't matter to me. I'm out there to win and have fun, and I know Kenny is going to bring it, and that's what I'm looking forward to. I do my best work when my opponent is on their best game.

Between your fight, the Penn-Sanchez fight, there's also Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson and possibly Shinya Aoki vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri. This is a big month for lightweights. Are you following those fights?

Guida: Absolutely. Those are the things I look forward to. I'm as much of a fan if not more than I am a competitor. I love martial arts. It's what I do and I love watching all the other fighters in the division. It kind of makes me wonder where I fit in.



Jake Shields was really excited to be in the EA Sports MMA video game, but you actually gave up a chance to be in the UFC video game by not cutting your hair. For a lot of athletes, they like having their own sneaker, being in video games, action figures ... What's something you want to be featured in?

Guida: You must have heard the wrong rumor because I definitely did not turn down a video game because of not cutting my hair. THQ excluded me from the game because they couldn't duplicate my hair, and had they called me, like a professional company does -- had they called or emailed myself or my managers -- On several accounts, we tried to contact them, but no response. I would have told them to give me a buzzcut. [Laughs.] Put me in a ponytail. They already had the game packages and then we heard that we weren't in the game. So it's nothing to do with us. It's another rumor. I'm no dummy. Being in a video game would be an honor.

Didn't Dana White offered you money to cut your hair so that you would be in the game?

Guida: Yeah, he offered me as a joke and for fun as a friend.

It was a communication issue with THQ more than anything then?

Guida: Yeah, from them not contacting us.