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Clay Guida More Passionate Than Ever Heading into UFC 117

SAN FRANCISCO – If you missed Clay Guida at Thursday afternoon's UFC 117 press conference, maybe it's because you didn't think to check the floor. The longtime UFC lightweight showed up along with the other fighters on the card, but he didn't have a spot at the table up front.

Instead he grabbed some carpet in the front row, made himself comfortable, and waited for the questions to end so he could receive his Cazadores Tequila Spirit Award from UFC president Dana White. It was a nice moment, but also a somewhat odd one, given the circumstances.

"It is kind of different not to answer one fight-related question until now," Guida told MMA Fighting after the press conference. "But it's an honor to be on what I think is the most stacked card of 2010. Everyone knows how it is when I get in the ring. It's going to be a battle, a war, and it ain't going to be pretty."

When Guida takes on Rafael dos Anjos – a tough Brazilian lightweight on a three-fight win streak – he'll do so on the televised portion of the pay-per-view. And yet, it's impossible to deny that his bout is being largely overlooked with all the hype around the title fight between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva, as well as the two number one contender bouts elsewhere on the card.

That's okay, according to Guida, because when the time comes he'll make his presence known.

"I bring attention to my fight on my own, with just my enthusiasm and my action. You see my walkout, the introduction with me drooling on myself, burping in the cage and stuff. I bring plenty of excitement in my own way."

The last time Guida stepped in the Octagon back in March in Broomfield, Colorado, he was close enough to his training camp at Greg Jackson's in Albuquerque that he could simply drive his beloved RV to the fight. He considered it this time around, but a couple different variables made him opt for other transportation.

"It's a long haul from Albuquerque to Oakland. It's about fifteen hours. And I figured, you know, Oakland is a great city, but it might be a situation where I come out and the RV is on blocks or the RV isn't there at all," he joked.

What he's not joking about are his future goals. Maybe he had some setbacks recently, he said, but he's still absolutely convinced that there's a UFC title in his future. Now that he's been training with the Jackson squad in New Mexico, the pieces finally feel like they're coming together, he said.

"I'm with the camp that I feel like I was put on this Earth to be with. Things happen for a reason. And I feel like with Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn is exactly where I'm supposed to be. It sounds cliché, but I feel like it happened now for a reason. I think I'm kind of my own worst distraction sometimes, and it just took me a while to realize that. Fighting is what I do, and it's who I am. ...I'm rededicated to the sport, and more passionate about it now than ever before."

If you think it sounds hard to believe that a ball of energy like Guida could turn up the volume any more, you're not alone. But while he insised that he's fine with not being the center of attention in the days before the event, he said he plans to give fans a reason to look his way when his turn comes on Saturday.

"I'm always excited to be in the cage, so I'm not worried about these other guys. I'm going to go in there and get my hand raised."

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