Gray Maynard was seconds away from achieving his dream of becoming UFC lightweight champion on two separate occasions. His first round dominance of rival fighter and then champion Frankie Edgar left everyone watching believing that a new champion was about to be crowned. Unfortunately for Maynard, Edgar survived his vicious onslaught to retain the belt in both of their classic battles. “The Bully” was clearly devastated by both losses, but in the spirit of adaptation he has found his way through it.
Following his second devastating loss to “The Answer”, Maynard went soul searching, looking for an answer of his own. Injuries, camp turmoil, and disappointment had left Maynard worn down and ready for a change. Maynard decided it was time to change every aspect of his training, and his life, in search of the missing pieces. Maynard traveled around the world, training in places that would test him like never before in an effort to sculpt a new, better Gray Maynard.
Maynard spent the first step of the recreation process with Brazil’s camp Nova Uniao, training with top fighters like Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. In a partrnership that proved to be beneficial for both sides, Maynard earned his blue belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, all while helping Jose Aldo to prepare for his title defense against Chad Mendes. Brasil was a drastic change from the fast paced Vegas lifestyle Maynard had become accustomed to, and he was ready for more change.
‘The Bully’ then moved his training to San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy. Not only did the team atmosphere and notorious tough training prove to be extremely beneficial to Maynard, but he also said that the peace and happiness he found while training with AKA has led to a great improvement. In an interview with HeavyMMA, Maynard told how he believes this improvement will lead to a win over Clay Guida
“I feel great,” Maynard told HeavyMMA. “I really believe the happiest man is the most dangerous because when you are happy you are relaxed, chill and excited to do the work to improve yourself. I’m loving life right now and couldn’t be in a better place. I felt I needed to change things up. We had been talking about moving to California for a while and it made a lot of sense.
“The time I’ve spent training with other teams and fighters like Aldo and Renan has been awesome. I’ve picked up some good stuff and I’ve learned you really can’t get too comfortable in one spot or gym. In order for you to evolve as a fighter you have to keep learning.
“Training at AKA feels like I’m going back to my roots a little bit. It is a wrestler heavy camp and every Tuesday it’s straight in your face, hard-nosed wrestling. We really go at it and it helped me a ton. There are a lot of good guys up there.”
Maynard’s feel good story will be put to the test against the fast paced Clay Guida this Friday. Gray Maynard has seen Guida’s frenetic style break many fighters before him, and he has trained in preparation for this. To prepare specifically for Guida’s unique attack, Maynard enlisted the help of the Marinovich brothers. He believes their strength and conditioning training will be the difference and have him ready for any attack Guida throws at him.
“I’ve definitely prepared for every aspect of this fight,” Maynard said. “I know there is a chance the fight takes place all over the cage and could go the distance. [Guida] keeps going and I have to be ready to take it all the way. That’s how I handled my preparation. I’m ready for everything.
“I heard the comment he made about wanting to TKO me and that kind of confused me. When you are looking at a fight, a TKO is normally the last thing you are aiming for. I just thought it was a weird thing to say. I think his camp watched my last bout and it made them look at my chin and training. I know what happened with everything leading up to my last fight with Edgar and if they want to put their egg in that basket then go right ahead.”
With both fighters coming off of a loss, losing this fight could mean years of working back up the competitive light heavyweight ranks. Maynard then explained his feelings on the competitive lightweight division and why this is a must win for him
“This division is crazy,” Maynard said. “Everyone in the top 10 is close in competition and it makes things interesting. You can rise and fall quickly in this division. A loss can drop you down but this weight class is so competitive, a solid win puts you right back up there. Look at Nate Diaz. He puts together a few good wins and he’s up there around a title shot. It’s definitely one of the most competitive divisions in the sport.”
All that could be said has been said, and Maynard will enter the octagon looking to prove that his life changing efforts have made him a different, better fighter. Maynard plans on defeating Clay Guida and eventually getting the championship that has evaded him in the past.
“There are a lot of changes in my life but they are all fun, new and I’m pumped about all of it,” Maynard said. “This fight is a great step back to where I want to be. I get to beat Clay Guida and he is a tough guy who brings it. The way I see it, I’m going to fight all of these top guys eventually. Let s get it going and line them up. I’m ready to get back to that belt.”
Source : HeavyMMA