ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – There were plenty of heated moments in Friday's UFC on FX 4 main event between Gray Maynard and Clay Guida.
Most took place in the octagon, including a couple sets of prominent Maynard middle fingers. Another happened outside the cage, right after Maynard's split-decision victory.
But after the fight, the two lightweights put to bed their short-lived beef.
Guida's game plan was a subject of frustration for Maynard (11-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) in the fight. Maynard spent the majority of the fight trying to chase down his opponent, who bounced and danced and backpedalled and slipped – and "ran," as UFC president Dana White saw it. And though Maynard appeared to chase Guida (29-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) down verbally in the fight, as well, and flipped him the bird twice, he said such behavior is not customary for him and he merely lost his cool.
"Personally, I don't act like that," Maynard said at Friday's post-fight press conference, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) attended. "It's a fight, but I was pissed off. I'm a human, too. I get mad."
Once Guida arrived at the press conference, it didn't take him long to getting around to complimenting Maynard, despite the tense moments during and after the fight.
"My hat's off to Gray," Guida said. "He's a wrestler and an athlete I've always looked up to. He's done things in mixed martial arts and wrestling that I wasn't able to do. I've looked up to him for a long time. I've got nothing but respect for you and your whole family."
The words seemed to almost take Maynard by surprise.
"Man, he's making me feel bad about all the stuff I did in the fight," Maynard said. "Nothing personal on all that stuff. It was a heated fight. We were talking about the stuff, Mac (Danzig) and me, the night before – that it's going to be good to get it over with because he's a nice guy.
"It's nothing personal. It was a fight, it got heated, and he's a cool guy. I'm glad we can just drop it at that. I try not to act like that."
Guida said the challenge of a wrestler like Maynard, who was a three-time Division I All-American at Michigan State, was one he was glad he could test himself with.
"It was a challenge to myself to say, 'Man, I want to finally go out and beat the best wrestler I've faced,'" Guida said. "I lost to Ben Henderson, who is an NAIA whatever you want to call it. You were a step up in competition for me – a thee-time All-American, Division I. I was super-excited about the challenge and the opportunity that lied ahead."
And Maynard said the test of Guida in a five-round fight was a chance to prove to his doubters that he could go 25 minutes after a pair of title fights against Frankie Edgar in 2011 in which he seemed to run out of steam late in the fight – allowing Edgar to recover to earn a draw at UFC 125, then knock Maynard out at UFC 136.
"The dude's got cardio for sure," Maynard said. "… He's a tough kid. He goes, and it pushed me the whole camp to know it's going to be a longer fight and at a high pace. I had to prove I could do it because the last fight, I kind of gassed a little bit and there was all kinds of stuff going on. I was prepared for him."