It's fight day! I love having two events in one week. It keeps us fight fans on our toes. UFC 164 is a very promising card, bound to keep us on the edge of our seats, as we get the long awaited rematch between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, as well as the return of Josh Barnett to the octagon.
Of all the great match-ups on the card though, the one between flyweights, Louis Gaudinot and Tim Elliott might be the most interesting. The title shot implications are buzzing through the MMA sphere right now, and the winner will almost assuredly be in a prime contender's spot.
I recently spoke with Gaudinot, who discussed the twitter buzz between himself and Ian McCall, the friendly fire with Demetrious Johnson, and his thoughts on fighting to finish. Here's what he had to say:
Stephie: You have a pretty big fight coming up. This could potentially line you up in the top three and get you a shot at Mighty Mouse. I saw on twitter that he seems to be quite open to it.
Gaudinot: Yeah, I wished him a happy birthday and told him I hoped I'd be seeing him soon, but I had some business to handle. He tweeted back, ‘I'll be waiting.' After his last fight, at the press conference, he mentioned me by name. He's beaten numbers 1-4 so I think he's looking for some new challenges and hopefully after this fight I'll be one of them.
Stephie: Let's talk about Ian McCall for a second. What happened there?
Gaudinot: Basically, I did an interview right after my last fight, and I said I wanted to fight one of the guys in the tournament. At the time it was him and Urushitani, and I think a year later he heard about the interview and I guess he took offense to it, and he's been calling me out ever since.
Stephie: Do you think it might be because he feels like your green hair might be upstaging his creepy ‘stache?
Gaudinot: [laughs] I don't know. He says my green hair offends him, but I'm not too concerned with him right now. I've got to focus on Elliott, and like you said after this fight, I could be looking at a shot at Mighty Mouse, so right, now Ian McCall isn't even on my radar.
Stephie: Elliott has a couple of advantages in that he's got a few inches on you, and he's got a big four inch reach advantage on you. Let's talk a little bit about how you plan to get around that huge reach advantage.
Gaudinot: You know what? For me that's nothing new. Basically every person I fight in the Octagon is going to have a reach advantage on me. I think Dodson and I are the smallest guys, and he's got some long, long arms, so he might even have a reach advantage on me. It's nothing new. Everybody I've faced in my career has been bigger and taller. I've faced guys like Bedford and Pague who had an 11" or 12" reach advantage, so four inches isn't too bad.
Stephie: Do you look at those reach "disadvantages" and laugh to yourself and think those guys don't even know, but it's actually an advantage to me?
Gaudinot: Yeah, I'm used to dealing with it. The guys in my gym are taller than me too, so I've been dealing with it for the past three or four months getting ready for this fight. Like you said, I can use this to my advantage, so we'll see come Saturday.
Stephie: With good movement, which you've demonstrated that you have, it's pretty easy to get in and out of that pocket without taking any shots.
Gaudinot: I don't want to give too much of the game plan away, but that sounds pretty good to me.
Stephie: I saw something recently where you were talking about team Tiger Schulmann and Uriah Hall had just kind of split out of there without a word to anyone. Did the guys there sort of take that as a disrespectful move, or was everybody just like ‘oh well'?
Gaudinot: We took it in stride. We're family and the guys I train with, especially the lighter weight guys who work together so much, we're family and I wouldn't expect one of those guys to do something like that, but we took it in stride and it is what it is at the end of the day.
Stephie: Do you have your eye on any new guys that you think are going to creep up on you guys in the top 5 or 6?
Gaudinot: I read all the MMA websites and all that stuff, I'm into the news, so I know about the flyweights they're signing, and whenever there's a fight I'm watching it closely and things like that. I think Darrell Montague has got a tough fight coming up against John Dodson, and that's a guy you want to keep your eye on. That's a real tough test coming up; first fight in the Octagon and fighting Dodson.
Stephie: Did you get a chance to watch the fights on Wednesday?
Gaudinot: I missed a couple of them, I called the hotel room and they said they didn't have Fox Sports, then I saw one of the UFC guys downstairs and he's like, ‘nah, they don't know what they're talking about, it's the old speed channel.' So I was able to catch the last three of four fights.
Stephie: What do you think of the knees to a downed opponent rule? Do you think they should change that and make it so you can knee a downed opponent?
Gaudinot: I think there needs to be circumstances for it. I know there are thoughts of allowing a knee to a downed opponent if they're face down. So if they put that one hand on the floor, they're still legal to hit, or if they take a shot on you and they're on all fours, but if you're in side control and face up then knees to the head are illegal. I think something like that would be good.
Stephie: Is there anything else like that out there, rules or judging or refereeing that need changes?
Gaudinot: Oh now we're on reffing, this could be a half hour conversation. I know it's a cliché but you don't want to leave it in the hands of the judges. You don't know how they're scoring takedowns, how they're scoring top control, how they're scoring somebody who is active from an open guard on the bottom... You never know what these judges are thinking. It depends who you're judging the fight and what state you're in. That's why we see a lot of split decisions, close calls and controversial decisions.
Stephie: How important is it for you to get the finishes? Especially since finishers seem to get all of the bonuses.
Gaudinot: I think it's more important to go out and put on a good performance and put on a show than it is to finish. I think Dana likes the guys who put on a good show, and me and Tim, we always go out there and put on a show for the fans. In Mighty Mouse's last fight he won four rounds and could have coasted, but he was looking for the finish and I think that's what Dana looks for; guys that keep pushing the pace.
Stephie: So you're saying put on a good performance and the finish will more than likely be a product of that good performance?
Gaudinot: Yeah, I think so. When you go out there and push the pace and don't take it easy when you have the lead, that leads to a finish. Of course you always want a finish. I don't know what fighter it was, but I read about it where just last night a guy lost two rounds, then in the third round he came back and won. Anything can happen in MMA. There could be 30 seconds left and you could lose the fight. When Matt Serra lost to Shonie Carter I think there were 15 or 20 seconds left. You don't want to sit on that lead, it's a dangerous sport and anything can happen so you want to finish the guy if you can.
Stephie: If you could tell yourself from five years ago one piece of advice, what would it be?
Gaudinot: Cut your hair and don't let it get that long, it's going to interfere in your next fight.
Stephie: How are you going to do your hair for the fight?
Gaudinot: I cut it all off, it was getting too much for me. Of course it's going to be green. Me not having green hair is like Clay Guida having short hair, you're just not going to see it.
You can follow Louis via his Twitter account @LouGaudinotUFC