Clay Guida Doesn't Deserve a Shot at the UFC Lightweight Title Just Yet
At “The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale” on Saturday evening in Las Vegas, Clay Guida outwrestled the flashy Anthony Pettis in taking a unanimous decision victory over the last WEC lightweight champion.
It was by far the biggest win of Guida’s career and immediately launched him into the upper echelon of the UFC’s stacked lightweight division.
In wake of the win, Guida told Joe Rogan he was ready for a title shot. Although Pettis was promised a shot at the 155-pound title by UFC president Dana White had he emerged from this fight victorious, the same pledge was never made to Guida.
Those who believe Guida deserves a title shot point to his recent four-fight win streak. They forget just who he has fought during those four victories.
Shannon Gugerty? A guy who has a sub-.500 record (2-3) in the UFC, and someone who only diehard fans have heard of. Yes, Guida did win the “Submission of the Night” award for his arm-triangle victory, but Gugerty is nothing special.
Rafael Dos Anjos? Another guy with a .500 record in the UFC (3-3). Although Guida looked fantastic in breaking Dos Anjos’ jaw in this fight, it’s not like the Brazilian is one of the best in the division.
Takanori Gomi? Aside from delivering a flash knockout to Tyson Griffin last summer, Gomi has looked nothing like the fighter who ran through PRIDE in his other octagon battles, losing by submission to Guida and Kenny Florian.
Don’t forget that before this recent streak Guida lost two fights in a row, a barn-burner to Diego Sanchez and a choke-out loss to the aforementioned Florian.
Even with his victory last night, Guida still only holds a 9-5 record in the UFC. And although his move to Greg Jackson’s camp has clearly rejuvenated his career, one cannot forget his overall body of work in the Octagon when considering how worthy he is of a title shot.
Guida is definitely an exciting fighter. He pushes an unrelenting pace through his fights, has some of the best cardio in the sport, sports a cast-iron chin, and has a likeable and unique personality. He’s fun to watch and root for.
To fight for the UFC gold, however, requires a sustained body of excellence, and Guida hasn’t demonstrated this just yet. If four wins in the span of a year earns one a title shot, like proponents of Guida believe, then what about Melvin Guillard?
Like Guida, Guillard has won four in a row and like Guida, Guillard’s fights are exciting to watch. He has also been in the UFC for what seems like forever, and even has a similar UFC record to Guida at 10-4. But you don’t hear fans clamoring for Guillard’s title shot.
Of course, there’s Jim Miller, he sports a 9-1 record inside the UFC including a current seven-fight win streak. It just doesn’t make sense for Guida to get a crack at the gold before Miller, especially considering Miller’s only two career losses have come at the hands of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, the top two guys in the division.
The easiest thing to do is to pull Miller from his fight with Ben Henderson and set up a No. 1 contender showdown between he and Guida. Both of these guys are on the cusp of stardom but really need a victory over a consensus top-10 lightweight to firmly entrench their place in the division.
With Edgar and Maynard hopefully culminating their trilogy in the fall, the timing is right to hold a late-summer/fall tilt between Miller and Guida to determine who gets the next crack at the belt. The winner of that fight would without question be deserving of fighting for UFC gold.
Defeating Pettis is no doubt a massive feather in Guida’s cap. But it’s not enough for him to get a title shot, at least not just yet.
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