It wasn't long ago that Clay Guida was the darling of the UFC because every time he stepped foot in the cage, mayhem ensued and the crowd both in the arena and at home had no choice but to stand up and applaud every moment.
Guida racked up five Fight of the Night awards as well as two Submission of the Night bonuses, while navigating his way through a treacherous lightweight division.
Eventually though, as Guida bounced back and forth between wins and losses, the number of cuts, big hits and damage mounted, and he started approaching fights with a different mentality all together.
In his fight against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4 last year, Guida abandoned his aggressive, move-forward-at-all-times style and started to bounce more in and out and become more of a counter fighter. The changes were not well received at all by either the UFC or the fans watching his performance.
Guida continued with that same technique in his next fight, which was against Hatsu Hioki at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago last month, and the changes have turned him from a fan favorite to someone who UFC President Dana White says now "runs" instead of fights.
"The problem with Clay Guida lately is Clay Guida has completely changed his style. The style that made him popular and exciting, what everybody liked, why everybody liked Clay Guida—now he does the exact opposite," Dana White told the morning show at 95.5 KLOS in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The criticism Guida has received has landed mostly on the shoulders of trainer Greg Jackson, who began working with the Chicago-area fighter a few years ago. In all reality, however, Guida has stated on several occasions that while he was exciting in his past fights, he also didn't come away with the win and had to endure some serious damage to get that Fight of the Night bonus.
The unfortunate side of those changes for Guida has been the way fans and people like White have reacted. They don't seem to be cheering for him nearly as much these days.
"He was a buzzsaw and just moves forward and doesn't stop and he keeps going until he eventually breaks you. Now he does the exact opposite, he runs. Nobody wants to see that," said White.
Guida's next fight will come in April when he faces the ultra-tough Chad Mendes at UFC on Fox 7 in San Jose. It will be his second test at featherweight and Mendes, a former title contender, is no easy challenge.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!