Clay Guida is one of the most popular lightweights in the UFC, but popular unfortunately doesn't mean best.
While Guida is one of the best in the division, he can't beat the top one percent of the top one percent; he always falters when he fights the highest level of fighters.
This fact means that he occupies a unique niche in MMA, that of the "ultimate gatekeeper."
What is an ultimate gatekeeper? A popular fighter who tests good fighters to see how elite they are, rather than lower-level fighters of moderate to low levels of popularity to see if they belong in the UFC.
So how does Guida fit this description? Read and find out!
Most gatekeepers are decent fighters, but just decent; they likely won't ever accomplish anything great in MMA.
Clay Guida has proven that he is more than just the average gatekeeper by his ability to win fights over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz.
The run-of-the-mill gatekeeper wouldn't be able to beat such fighters.
Each time Clay Guida faced a significant step up in competition, he's lost. His three most recent losses were to Ben Henderson, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez.
What do they all have in common? They all have or will have fought for lightweight titles at some point in their careers.
Guida is essentially a gatekeeper to the stars.
Clay Guida's unique personality, hairstyle and fighting style have earned him a special place in the hearts of many fans.
If nothing else, Guida is an "ultimate" gatekeeper because fans want to watch him fight more than any other gatekeeper in the UFC.