Jackson, widely recognized as one of the best in the game, discussed Guida’s strategy and more in a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show”:
On Guida’s game plan: “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. 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.”
On Guida’s past performances: “In a lot of those fun, exciting fights, he ended up on the wrong side of those. He would get dropped or he’d get choked out a lot of times. You have to be able to fight the guy that’s in front of you, and Gray is an incredible fighter. … To just run at that guy and throw caution to the wind and hope you don’t get caught with a big punch and choked out again, it is a little silly. You do want to be able to try to do something that maybe favors you a little bit.
“Now again, we should have engaged a little bit more, and that’s just the way the fight went down, 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.”
On whether he’s had to defend his record as a trainer with more stats: “I didn’t even have to do any of that because two fights earlier Cub Swanson did beautifully and got Fight of the Night. When you have a situation like that, when you have a spectacular performance and then you have Clay, who stuck and moved, but he should have stuck a little more than he moved -- that happens. He still got a split decision. He was a 4-1 underdog. Had we done just a little more, I think it would have gone our way. But [some criticism] is obviously just biased because no one’s saying, ‘Hey Greg, that was a great game plan with Cub. Way to get the second knockout of his career and Knockout of the Night and look so good.’ It’s all about the negative stuff. At that point, it doesn’t hold any water for me, so I’m all right.”
On Guida’s mindset after the loss: “He’s a tough guy, and we just try to stay positive and take it as a learning experience and try to focus on the things that we want to improve on and do better. He was of course very disappointed, but sometimes it’s a process. Sometimes it’s not as easy as just going from A to Z. I’m really proud of him. I’m always really proud of him. He got in there, and that’s hard to do. We should have done a few things differently, but we’ll get them next time. Other than being disappointed, it was pretty par for the course. He wasn’t like emotionally devastated for the rest of his life or anything. He was just kind of upset.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 16:33).