A week after Clay Guida utilized a dramatically different game plan from his usual forward pressure strategy in his bout against Gray Maynard, his coach is still being called upon to defend his attempt to win. In an interview with Sherdog last night, Guida coach and legendary trainer Greg Jackson stated that the performance that fans are calling the worst of The Carpenter’s career was only slightly off.
“I wanted Clay to, after he drew Gray out, to engage a little bit more, but I think Clay was waiting for him to open up a little bit and he was able to land some combinations when he did that,” Jackson told Sherdog. “But one of the things that I think both Clay and I learned is that … we need to do a little more right after the misses, kind of jumping on him a little bit more. I chalk it up to experience and a learning process, and hopefully we won’t be in that situation again where we have such a close decision. Hopefully we’ll be able to dominate the next time.”
Known for constantly bringing the pressure to his opponent, Guida did a 180 in the Jackson game plan, electing to outmaneuver Maynard while striking from the outside. Though the crowd was displeased throughout the fight, but the strategy was working for Guida until the later rounds, when Guida started having trouble landing his counters and simply danced away. Ultimately, Guida was on the losing end of the tight split decision. The fight also marked the first time that Guida was given a warning for lack of aggression. Even though Jackson admits his pupil should have turned it up a bit in the later rounds, but makes no apologies for the stick-and-move plan.
“Now again, we should have engaged a little bit more, and that’s just the way the fight went down,” Jackson continued. “…but I’m never going to tell my guy, ‘Listen, this guy does everything better than you. I just want you to take all the damage you can until he gets tired of punching you in the face so that everybody’s jumping up and down and then maybe you’ll win, but maybe you’ll just get choked out.’ That doesn’t seem very smart to me at all. … I’m always going to be trying to do it smartly. It’s got to be an entertaining fight obviously, but at the same time you can’t just jump on somebody that’s stronger than you, that hits harder than you and has better wrestling than you do.”
Jackson has been consistently blamed for “boring” game plans from his fighters, with Guida’s performance in particular raising the ire of many fans. However, Jackson pointed out that one of the other fighters in his stable, Cub Swanson, was awarded knockout of the night on the same card in one of the bigger fire fights of the year.