Clay Guida made his UFC debut on October 14, 2006, when he submitted Justin James via rear-naked choke at the 4:42 mark of the second round. On Saturday, January 26 Guida will make what he referred to as a “re-debut” with the UFC when he steps into the Octagon to face Hatsu Hioki as a featherweight.
Guida is a veteran of the sport, having been a professional mixed martial artist since July 2003. While his official professional record is 29-13, he is approaching this fight on the UFC on Fox 6 card, as if his record were 0-0, which it is at the 145-pound featherweight limit.
The decision to drop to 145 pounds came after Guida found himself on the losing end of two consecutive decisions at 155 pounds. The first loss was a unanimous decision that went the way of now UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, while the second loss was a split decision to Gray Maynard.
Guida was bothered for some time about the Maynard fight and even though he claims that the loss is in the past, his words tell another tale—clearly that loss still eats at him, driving him in some way.
“That fight was in June, you’re going to see a more revamped, more energetic Clay Guida," Guida said in a recent interview. "I believe that I am one of the most improved lightweights, soon to be featherweights, in mixed martial arts. If you see my striking, it’s been pretty much pin point. I outstruck Gray, I outgrappled Gray, go down the list, I beat him everywhere except in the judges eyes, I’m beyond that now. It’s a learning experience and Hatsu Hioki is going to pay Saturday night for it.”
And while the loss to Maynard still seems to bother him, don’t think Guida is sitting around feeling sorry for himself.
“If I was hanging my head I wouldn’t be here right now," Guida said. "You gotta pick up the pieces and move on. That’s not how I’ve come this far, that’s not what’s going to get me the featherweight title. People that hang their head seem to have a negative attitude and that’s not how I was brought up. I’ve moved on.”
Now that Guida has moved on from the Maynard loss and the lightweight division as a whole he can concentrate on moving up, which is something he seems intent on doing, saying “We’re going to make waves at 145—the best is yet to come.”
Note: All quotes obtained firsthand.