CHICAGO -- The sting of criticism from his last UFC on Fox performance will accompany Clay Guida on Saturday as he gets back in the Octagon at the United Center for UFC on Fox 6.
The most public criticism came from UFC president Dana White, who said some "goof" convinced Guida to abandon his aggressive style and run "around in circles" against Gray Maynard during UFC on Fox 4 in June. While Maynard won a close decision, White said it was a "blowout."
"You're going to see a more revamped, more energetic Clay Guida," Guida said Wednesday. "I feel like every time I go out there I show improvement. I believe I am one of the most improved lightweights and soon to be featherweights in the UFC. I feel like I beat Gray Maynard in every way by out-striking, and out-grappling him.
"The way I didn't beat him was in the judges' eyes. I'm beyond that now. It's a learning experience and Hatsu Hioki is going to pay on Saturday night for that."
That's not the way White saw it.
"You don't win a fight by running -- ever. ... This is a fight," White said on FX after that bout. "The thing about Clay Guida is Clay Guida is a fighter. This guy always moves forward. He's in your face. He's aggressive. He's not the most talented mixed martial artist in the world, he's an aggressive, in-your-face guy that wears you out and ends up beating you, or goes out on his shield. He's one of those guys.
"Some goof put in his head that running around in circles might win him the fight, and they were dead wrong."
The "goof" White referred to likely was Guida's coach Greg Jackson, who defended his strategy against Maynard in an interview with Sherdog but admitted he wanted Guida to engage a little more.
This will be Guida's first fight after dropping down to featherweight.
"This is sort of a re-debut for me to now be fighting in the featherweight division," Guida said. "We're going to make waves at 145. We're going to turn heads at 145. People are going to see that the best is yet to come. The card is stacked, the stage is set, the pieces are in line. I just have to go in there and do what we worked on. I'm just going to go out there and have fun on Saturday night."
Guida is from Johnsburg, Ill., and he's looking forward to his first fight in Chicago in over seven years. His bout will be on FX.
"I sleep very good at night with a smile on my face just knowing I'm going to be in the United Center, known as the 'Madhouse on Madison,'" he said. "You're going to see the true definition of the 'Madhouse on Madison' on Saturday night.
"I get chills every time I think about being able to perform in the house that Michael Jordan built, where the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls played, where the (2009-10) Blackhawks had their remarkable Stanley Cup run. It's an honor and really means a lot. I'm kind of at a loss for words. The fans are going to be the true winners on Saturday night. It's going to be special."
Guida stopped by the United Center on Tuesday night to soak in the atmosphere during the Blackhawks' home opener against the St. Louis Blues.
"I went and saw the Blackhawks last night get their first home victory against the Blues," he said. "I'm also going to the Montini Catholic (High School) wrestling meet tonight. They are a wrestling team I help coach when I'm in town. The school is going for their sixth state title in a row. A huge part of my training is these kids on the wrestling team who motivate me."