EVERYTIME I WATCH CLAY GUIDA FIGHT, I AM ALWAYS MOVED AND INSPIRED BY HOW MUCH GENUINE POSITIVE ENERGY HE POSSESSES. He exudes it contagiously with constant movement, in-place-jogging, and rallying to the crowd. Clay has always been known and feared for his cardio and perhaps that is a result of living and training in the high-altitude environment of Albuquerque, New Mexico. But there are a lot of fighters that live and train in high-altitude, and a lot of fighters with phenomenal cardio. There is only one Clay Guida.
Clay Guida’s fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night Noguiera vs Nelson on the 11th of April 2014 was yet another 15 minute exhibition of Clay’s phenomenal conditioning. The guy just never stops moving. I was exhausted just watching him from my couch. Before he enters the octagon for the fight, when he’s getting his equipment checked and getting Vaseline put on his face, he’s bouncing around and jogging in place. After each round he jogs a lap around the octagon rallying the crowd. Before the start of a round he’s jogging in place and can’t wait to go. During the fight his high energy outpour neutralizes and tires his opponents. Whether it is pursuing a take down or attacking with punches and kicks, Clay is always right on top of the action, pushing the pace. Some fighters, they’ll take a breather while in the clinch position or when on the ground, or even take the last few seconds of a round easy when they hear the ten second clap. In a Clay Guida fight, all you’ll see is 15 minutes straight of wild brown hair darting back and forth the octagon, chasing down an opponent. After the fight he’s still jogging laps, cheering on the crowd. He can’t even stand still during the announcement of the judge’s decision. It is just amazing how it seems that Clay Guida never gets tired. Ever!
The secret to Clay Guida’s energy? This is going to sound cliché, but the secret to Clay’s energy is his positivity and his passion. “When I step into the cage, the most important thing is having fun, winning comes with having a good time out there.” It doesn’t hurt that he is also probably born with an extra pair of lungs. His coach Greg Jackson confirms the source of Clay’s energy. “He loves to fight, he loves to compete, and I think that real, organic love for what he does comes out in his personality, his training, and most of all his fights. He’s amped, he loves to be in there and even when you’re tired, when you’re doing something you love, you’re happy.” It’s true. When watching Clay Guida give interviews or reading about the volunteer work he does, you’ll be just as moved as I am about how a genuine and personable individual he is.
First of all, I am convinced that Clay doesn’t fight for fame and fortune. He isn’t after the big bank account and the million dollar house with the lawn. I mean, I was surprised to learn that Clay, after being such a successful fighter with multiple Submission of the Night, Fight of the Night, Fight of the Year bonus awards, he lives in an RV. “I’m pretty simple, I live in a van down by the river on an Indian reservation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I wake up in the morning and I see thirty to forty buffalo roaming around my front door.” When asked where he gets his incredible work ethic, he puts his hand over his heart, “safe to say, I get my hard work ethic from my parents. They always worked a couple of jobs trying to support the family. They’ve provided for me and my brothers and sisters and now I hope to provide for them and I wish I could give them more.”
Clay Guida comes from the small town of Johnsburg, Illinois and always had bigger dreams, but never forgets where he comes from. Even though he’s achieved fame and success fighting in the UFC, he still maintains that he prefers his life to be “very very blue collar, simple, eating out of a lunch pail, and living in an RV down by the river.”
At this point you’re probably sick of the passion and the heart and the love-what-you-do-and-do-what-you-love crap. I mean he can’t get such phenomenal cardio just off passion and peanuts, he must do at least some running. Yes. He runs and trains. In fact, Clay Guida trains more than anybody else. He’s described as one of those guys that opens the gym at the beginning of the day and closes after mopping up. His regiment includes sparring, kettlebells, circuit training, hitting mitts, and technique and strategy, and yes, running. He does thirty to forty minute training sessions with rests in between. But the passion doesn’t escape the training. “A lot of guys say that they just need to get through this workout. To me it’s different, you don’t just get through a workout, you don’t just get through life. You want to get the most out of it, I want to get the most out of my day, I want to get the most productivity.”
Clay Guida has served as a source of inspiration to me throughout the years of watching him fight in the UFC. His positivity, his energy, and his passion shines from the centre of the octagon and is something I strive to imitate in everything I do. I might not be a fighter or freak athlete, but his genuine nature is something I learn from and continuously try to develop in myself. We’ve heard time and time again, so many of those speeches and talks about how in this life, you must find something that you love to do and do it. The worst and by far most cheesy version of this I’ve heard is to “make your vocation your vacation and your vacation your vocation.” I mean, I think I just puked a bit in my mouth typing that out. But it’s true. “Don’t just get through a workout, you don’t just get through life.”