Clay Guida will meet Gray Maynard during the main event of UFC on FX 4 tomorrow night to help sort out the top of the UFC lightweight division.
On the surface, this appears to be a fight designed to give Maynard a tough test en route to a possible lightweight title shot. Guida hopes to rebuild momentum after he lost to Ben Henderson in November 2011, again faltering in his chance to break through to a title shot.
Sorry Guida fans, I hate to break it to you, but Maynard is likely going to have his way with the crazy-haired fighter tomorrow night. The 30-year-old won’t get past Maynard during their UFC on FX 4 headline fight but will continue to serve as an elite gatekeeper to fighters looking to work their way towards a higher ranking.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an elite gatekeeper because he’s always in exciting fights and isn’t an easy opponent to control. He has a great personality, an energetic fighting style and has proven to be quite durable since joining the UFC in 2006.
Being a perennial top 10 lightweight isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and if his striking game really is improving. Most lightweights looking to jump up in rank will have problems when they’re in the cage with him.
Even though he’s beaten the likes of Anthony Pettis, Takanori Gomi and Nate Diaz, I don’t think Guida is a serious UFC lightweight division contender—nor will he ever be. It’s a difficult position for him to be in because when people think of gate keepers, they tend to think of fighters who are mid-tier and can’t hang with the best of the best.
However, a “normal” gatekeeper would get handled by either Pettis or Diaz, but Guida was able to pick up wins in both cases.
Since 2007, Guida has only been finished twice—losing to Roger Huerta at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra Finale via rear-naked choke—and to Kenny Florian via rear-naked choke at UFC 107. He’s never been knocked out and can force opponents to suffer with his grappling ability in all rounds of the fight.
Guida is a stiff test for rising lightweight fighters, and a victory against him should help propel the fighter closer to a title shot, and a loss, as Anthony Pettis is learning, will force a climb back up the ladder.