With the recent success of both Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, The Ultimate Fighter has been proven a successful building ground for future champions. The winner of Season 6, Mac Danzig, is hopeful to keep that formula alive. His next step up the lightweight ladder is Wednesday night against Clay Guida.
In his first fight out since the show, Danzig put away Brazilian Jiu-jitsu ace MarkBocek at UFC 74 in Montreal, but following the fight he was forced to take some time off with a knee injury.
Coming into the fight with Guida, the former Pittsburgh native says he is 100 percent healthy and ready to compete.
"The knee's good going into the fight," Danzig said during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. "I could stand to have a little bit more range of motion with it. It's still not at 100 percent range of motion wise, but there's no more pain or anything."
In a previous interview discussing his opponent, Danzig had been quoted as calling Guida a "gatekeeper," but the Xtreme Couture team member wants everyone, including Guida, to know that it was not meant as an insult to him at all.
"I think I said he's kind of like a gatekeeper, but I didn't mean that in a bad way," Danzig commented. "A lot of people they just saw that quote and they didn't read the rest of my interview, because that's how people are, and they whined and cried about it and said that I was insulting him, but I'm not.
"He's a gatekeeper to the top five, top 10 of the weight class. He's arguably still in the top 10 in the UFC's 155-pounders. Beating him puts you in a position where you're going to be fighting those top five guys. That's huge."
Guida, of course, presents an extremely tough challenge to Danzig with his well rounded skills and cardio that seems to go forever. It's that challenge that gives Danzig all the motivation he needs leading into the fight.
"It's not hard to get motivated to train for this fight. I've always trained hard for every fight I've had, but this fight is just like, it's a great fight for both of us and our careers," he commented.
"His style definitely poses problems for me. Since he is so wrestling oriented, the best style match-up for me isn't a guy who wants to take me down and he does want to take me down."
Ultimately, facing Guida could be the catapult to making Danzig a true contender in an already stacked 155-pound division. The former King of the Cage champion understands that all too well.
"Beating him puts me a in a really good position in my career."
Danzig will get his chance as he faces off against Guida on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 15 in Omaha, Neb.