"So far, it hasn't been a weight cut," he on Wednesday told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
) following a workout in Chicago. "To me, cutting weight is sucking those last 10 pounds off."
After seven years in the UFC as a lightweight, Guida makes his debut at 145 pounds when he fights on the FX-televised prelims of UFC on FOX 6, which takes place Saturday at Chicago's United Center.
Several times, Guida (29-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) heard suggestions that he'd be more competitive at a lighter weight. But recently getting a look at his next opponent, top-ranked competitor Hatsu Hioki (26-5-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), he's not so sure that's true.
"I'm still not one of the biggest at 145," Guida said. "You see the guy I'm fighting is probably the biggest, right?"
But where he can't see a physical advantage, there's one thing he can't deny the featherweight division offers: a fresh start.
"You're going to see a more energetic Clay Guida," he said. "I believe I am one of the most improved lightweights and soon-to-be-featherweights in the UFC."
As a lightweight, Guida's competitive spirit always outweighed his natural frame. While not always successful, he consistently gave heavier opponents a run for their money with a boundlessly energetic style.
But after his most recent performance, a widely panned decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4, Guida decided it was finally time to give the division a chance.
Guida still believes he won the Maynard fight, which might have put him back within reach of a lightweight title shot. But he wasn't demoralized by the criticism he faced afterward, and marched ahead with a new diet that helped him shed pounds.
"If I was hanging my head, I wouldn't be here right now," he said. "You've got to pick up the pieces and move on. That's not how I've come this far, and it's not what's going to get me to the featherweight title."
After pressing through a training camp with several teammates who also are fighting on Saturday's card, Guida feels like he's coming into the cage a new man.
"Yesterday when I was getting my morning workouts, getting ready to get on the plane, I had that feeling like I did [seven] years ago when I fought in my UFC debut against Justin James," he said. "It was a good feeling."
But he plans to make Hioki pay for his learning experience against Maynard.
At the moment, earning another title shot is not Guida's concern. After falling short against now-lightweight champ Benson Henderson in a title eliminator and being outpointed by Maynard, he makes no predictions as to when he'll be eligible for another shot at a belt.
There are weightier concerns at the moment.
"I'm focused on my first victory at 145," Guida said.