Clay Guida's win over Anthony Pettis was huge in so many ways, but most important may have been the fact that it confirms he made a good move in turning his career over to renowned trainer Greg Jackson.
In the past, Guida had always fallen short in career changing fights. This time, a good gameplan and smart execution allowed him to post the biggest win of his career.
"Everyone knows the cardio is there, but there has to be more than cardio. There has to be composure in the cage," Guida told Cagewriter. "Sometimes I would go out there recklessly. I wasn't using all my energy in the right way, kind of wasting movement."
Guida (29-11, 9-5 UFC) lost title contender fights against Roger Huerta, Diego Sanchez, Tyson Griffin and Kenny Florian.
"With Kenny, I came out strong the first two minutes and then stopped [moving]. I was a sitting target and he picked me apart. I didn't think he had knockout power, but he dropped me. It doesn't happen very often, [but] he dropped me and choked me."
"The coaches say 'fight with perpetual motion but don't think. Clay, you're not getting paid to think. That's the one thing that stopped me from being successful as a wrestler. I would think too much out there," Guida said. "Some guys are more natrual athletes than myself. A lot of my opposition are more talented than me in the MMA world. The constant pressure and going out there and fighting on basic instinct and reaction is where I'm going to have my success."
Guida sees that he was missing something in those fights. He wasn't a complete fighter, physically or mentally.
"I've lost most of my fights against those top guys. Perhaps at the time it was premature," Guida said.
The 29-year-old feels like his time has arrived.
"Now, I have the mindset. I have the coaching staff. I have great teammates. I have all the confidence in the world that I'm going to be the next lightweight champion of the UFC," said Guida.
Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard still have to meet for a third time to sort things out at the top of the UFC lightweight division, but don't be surprised if Guida has a shot at the winner. Jim Miller has a pivotal fight upcoming in August against Ben Henderson. The former WEC champ is more than capable of pulling off the mild upset.
If Miller is out of the mix, the UFC should throw Guida in there. The guy always delivers exciting performances. He's earned five UFC postfight bonuses and his wrestling would force both Edgar and Maynard into standup wars. The question is, could either catch him on the feet, with his more composed style?