MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with rising UFC Lightweight contender Clay Guida to discuss his upcoming main event fight against Sports Illustrated cover-boy Roger Huerta at the Ultimate Fighter 6 reality show finale, set to air live on Spike TV on December 8th. Below is a complete transcript of the interview which was conducted on Wednesday, December 5, 2007.
CLAY GUIDA INTERVIEW (DEC. 5, 2007)
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I'm speaking with one of the most exciting lightweights in the UFC, Clay “The Carpenter” Guida. Clay, how are you today?
Clay Guida: I'm doing good Chris. Just going to grab some lunch.
MMANews.com: How has your training gone for this weekend's fight with Roger Huerta?
Clay Guida: I feel great man. It has gone very well and I'm looking forward to Saturday. I'm injury-free so that makes it even better.
MMANews.com: How is your weight at this point?
Clay Guida: I never let that be an issue. It's great. I'm shorter and a relatively smaller lightweight so it is never a problem just like any other fight.
MMANews.com: What do you normally walk around at?
Clay Guida: The most I've ever weighed in my life is 169 lbs. Usually the week before a fight I'm around 163 lbs. and when I get to Vegas I'm about 160 lbs.
MMANews.com: Now you mentioned that you are a smaller lightweight – have you ever considered dropping a weight class or do you feel comfortable at 155 lbs.?
Clay Guida: I feel very comfortable at 155 lbs. and I think I've found a home in the lightweight division. I wrestled at 149 lbs. in college, granted now I've obviously stopped growing but maybe in the future. Right now I feel like I step up in competition against the bigger guys. You never know I guess.
MMANews.com: What strengths do you feel you have going into the fight with Roger?
Clay Guida: My heart and my athleticism. I've always felt that my shear heart carries me farther than my fighting ability and wrestling and things like that. I also feel my cardio is a big strength as well.
MMANews.com: How do you feel you match-up with Roger style-wise?
Clay Guida: I think that I match-up very well with him. I think that my wrestling is better than his and I think that my hands are not as unorthodox as his so I feel I'll be able to catch him in the transitions and take him down and keep him there where others have been able to do.
MMANews.com: This is a huge fight in the lightweight division. With a win where do you see yourself in the title picture?
Clay Guida: When it comes to looking into the future I definitely want to win the title but I can't look past my opponent now. I beleive this is a very key fight in a tough lightweight division and I think Roger has the same feelings I do. He is undefeated in the UFC right now and I am .500 in the UFC. Questionably. But this is a very big fight and I'll take them one at a time.
MMANews.com: All of your fights have been exciting fights…
Clay Guida: Definetely.
MMANews.com: Looking back at the Tyson Griffin fight, do you have hard feelings about the decision?
Clay Guida: I just use that as a reminder to never let it happen again and not let fights get that close. I just hope I can win this fight and Tyson wins his next fight and hopefully we can meet down the road again. I know it is a candidate for fight of the year and all that so that just gives me motivation to win all my fights so it can maybe happen again.
MMANews.com: That was a definite fight of the year candidate. Do you feel that this fight with Roger has the same potential?
Clay Guida: Without a doubt. I think this is going to cap off the 2007 year in the UFC and people are just going to be like “wow!”
MMANews.com: What does it mean to you to be in the main event of a UFC show?
Guida vs. Huerta headlines the TUF 6 finale!
Clay Guida: It's an honor because it is a dream of people to get here and it has always been a dream of mine. The reality of it is, is that I want a title shot and I want to be the main event of a PPV fighting for that title but this is an honor and I'm looking forward to it.
MMANews.com: Do you watch any of the Ultimate Fighter reality show yourself?
Clay Guida: I'm usually training the times that it is on but I did catch last week's fight between Tommy Speer and Ben Saunders and that was an awesome fight. One of my friends, Jon Kolosci, has been training with us and I hope that he does really well for himself.
MMANews.com: What is a normal day of training like for you?
Clay Guida: Well, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I start off with conditioning and endurance and striking and then Tuesday and Thursday morning it is ground work – jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. It alternates from week-to-week and I'll switch what I do on different days. We hit it hard but I usually like to let my body rest during the day and I train hard at night.
MMANews.com: What is your motivation while you are training?
Clay Guida: My family and all the support I receive from my fans and friends. No one wants to fight in front of an empty crowd. My brother also got me into the sport and he is a big help with my training. I'd love to follow in his footsteps.
MMANews.com: How did he get you into the sport?
Clay Guida: My brother was fighting Adrian Serrano in a small show in Illinois and we walked in and paid our admission fee then over the loud speaker they said they needed volunteers for an exhibition fight. I tried to convince my brother and my dad to let me do it and they finally did. I came in and slammed him and pounded on him. Keep in mind this guy had eight pro fights so this fight probably shouldn't have even happened. Then he swept me and I gave up my back and he rear-naked choked me and that was that. My next fight was when my brother was fighting on an XFO card and he called me the morning of the show and asked if I wanted to fight. It was against this wrestler/boxer dude and I came in and took him down and choked him out in the first few minutes and from then I never looked back. If I had of lost that fight I probably would have never fought again because I had too much pride to keep going out there and losing but I won and now that is what I'm doing professionally now.
MMANews.com: So you found your calling.
Clay Guida: Exactly. What I learned from them was that you can't be a one-dimensional fighter and since then I've come full-circle.
MMANews.com: Especially nowadays with the sport evolving so much.
Clay Guida: Yeah, and it's so awesome.
MMANews.com: What do you like to do when you are not training and have some free time to yourself?
Clay Guida: I love traveling. I have an RV and I like to travel around going to concerts and music festivals. I love skiing, I'm actually going skiing after this fight. I love skateboarding but traveling is my passion.
MMANews.com: Who in the sport do you look up to or idolize?
Clay Guida: Randy Couture.
MMANews.com: If I had a dollar everytime someone said …
Clay Guida: …[laughs] yeah, I love all kinds of fighters too though.
MMANews.com: Any fighters that you like to watch in particular?
Clay Guida: Nick Diaz for sure. I love watching Diaz fight. I also love watching Big Nog [Rodrigo Nogueira], he's a beast.
MMANews.com: I assume the nickname “The Carpenter” comes from a past job?
Clay Guida: Yup, I was union carpenter and they are actually one of my big sponsors – The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. I have to thank them for all the support they have given me right from the beginning. But yeah, I was a union framer and the name just kind of came over and stuck.
MMANews.com: How big of a win was it for you to beat Marcus Aurelio?
Clay Guida: It was a huge win. I was at a losing record in the UFC and I had a sense of urgency. The UFC doesn't keep losers around. Even if you are in the fight of the night, if you are not winning they aren't going to keep you around.
MMANews.com: Ok Clay, I won't take up anymore of your time and I'll let you get to your food. Do you have a prediction for your fight with Huerta?
Clay Guida: I'm usually not one for predictions but I can predict that it is going to be a fight of the year candidate and I have the confidence that I will have my hand raised at the end of the fight and I will leave it all out there as usual. I also want to thank my family and friends for always being there for me and giving me 110 percent.
MMANews.com: Are there any sponsors you would like to mention?
Clay Guida: Sure. Premier Fighter of course, they have a new Clay Guida shirt you should check out. Also MMAstops.com which is an online store and of course all my boys back in Illinois freezing in the cold at the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. I also want to thank MMANews.com for speaking with me. Thanks Chris.
MMANews.com: No problem man. Thanks for taking some time to talk with me. Good luck this Saturday.
Clay Guida: Thanks a lot buddy.
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