Clay Guida dropped down to the UFC’s featherweight division with every intention of becoming one of the top 145-pound fighters in the world.
His next fight may go a long way in determining how he measures up.
Guida will fight former featherweight No. 1 contender Chad Mendes at UFC on Fox 7 April 20 in San Jose, Calif. The bout was announced Monday after Mendes was pulled from the Feb. 23 UFC 157 card when officials couldn’t find an opponent after Mendes’ original opponent, Manny Gamburyan, was forced to withdraw due to injury.
For Guida, who improved his professional record to 30-11 with a split decision victory over Hatsu Hioki at the United Center in January, getting a shot at Mendes represents a big step in his pursuit of the featherweight title.
A text message and phone call to Guida made Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.
Mendes is coming off his back-to-back knockout victories over Cody McKenzie and Yaotzin Meza after he dropped a title decision to champion Jose Aldo in 2012. Mendes’ manager, Mike Roberts, told USA Today on Monday that the Guida fight could be the kind of fight needed to keep Mendes near the top of the division.
“Chad is the best – if not, the second best – guy in that weight division, period,” Roberts told USA Today. “Chad’s not going to turn anybody down. He believes he can beat anybody.”
Guida won his featherweight debut, snapping a two-fight losing streak.
Many considered his win over Hioki controversial considering the punches and kicks Hioki was able to land during the fight.
“We did enough,” Guida said in his post-fight interview. “It definitely wasn’t my most exciting fights and I’m ugly as always, but we got our hand raised at the end of the night