Friday, Dec. 31, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Gray Maynard will say he was born to fight. That doesn’t mean he was born to hype a fight.
The soft-spoken Maynard, who will take on UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar for a championship belt Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, doesn’t much care for the fight week build-up.
“I’m always glad when that’s done and it’s time to prove it,” Maynard said Thursday at UFC 125 open workouts.
For the first time in his career, Maynard is at the center of the spotlight as UFC 125 nears. Maynard is the favorite in the card’s Main Event against Edgar, who he already beat in 2008.
Although it takes him out of his comfort zone, Maynard said he was trying to cherish the moment and not be in a rush to get to fight night like normal.
“It’s a joy and you’ve got to enjoy it all because it will come and go,” Maynard said. “I will be old, fat, retired and drinking a beer like, ‘I tried to hurry that up. Why didn’t I try to enjoy it more?”
Edgar can relate to what Maynard is going through. He evolved through a similar process in August before his title fight and rematch against B.J. Penn at UFC 118.
Edgar said all fighters could notice the difference between appearing on a card and headlining a card.
“For me, it felt like I was ready,” Edgar said. “I guess everyone is different. But this is his hometown, so I’m sure he’s going to be fine.”
Frankie “The Jet” Edgar
Edgar spent a good portion of his media time at open workouts talking about how winning a belt opens up new opportunities for a fighter. He provided an example, too.
Edgar, a New Jersey native, was invited to speak to the New York Jets before a game against the Houston Texans in November.
“I got to meet Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and a few of the other players,” Edgar said. “I took it as something I’d like to do in the future, talk to people about my experiences in a competitive world. In sports, people can relate to it.”
Edgar addressed the Jets at their team hotel the night before the game. His message? Never give up.
Sanchez even mentioned Edgar as an inspiration at the post-game press conference after New York rallied to score in the final minute and take a 30-27 victory.
“It was a perfect scenario,” Edgar said.
Clay Guida and “The Dude Mobile”
Clay Guida became frustrated with the amount of time he spent in traffic trying to get to the gym in his hometown of Rockford, Ill.
So he came up with an idea to buy an RV and move to Albuquerque, N.M., to work with renowned MMA trainer Greg Jackson.
“I bought this thing to live it in full time while I’m on the road training,” Guida said. “That’s life. It sounds cliché, but I’m on the road to victory every day.”
Guida is 2-1 since he moved into the RV, which he and his friends call “The Dude Mobile,” and faces Takanori Gomi in a lightweight bout.
The RV is parked near Jackson’s gym and Guida said the lifestyle change has helped him refocus his training efforts.
“It’s where I believe I’m going to become the UFC lightweight champion,” Guida said.