At UFC on Fox 6, Clay Guida (29-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) will fight in his native Illinois for the first time in seven years against Hatsu Hioki (26-5-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the main event on the FX prelims telecast. Demetrious Johnson (16-2-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) will be putting his belt on the line in the main event on the Fox telecast against former Ultimate Fighter reality star John Dodson (14-5 MMA, 3-0 UFC).
"Chicago is a great place because thousands of fans are going to pack this place (United Center)," said Guida. "You’re going to get fans from Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin; it’s not only going to be Illinois fans."
Johnson and Guida have much in common besides fighting on the same card. They are likable characters and smaller fighters, and they each worked grueling construction jobs while moonlighting as MMA fighters.
But even with obvious similarities, the individuals are leading very different fighting lives. Guida is dropping to featherweight and is coming off an injury and two losses. Johnson is set to defend the UFC flyweight championship for the first time and on a nationally televised broadcast on Fox.
Johnson seemed calm, cool and collected. He dodged some questions with politically correct answers like: "I don’t give myself any pressure, as long as I do what I do and just fight," "Dodson is a great competitor" and "every opponent is dangerous."
Guida was more vocal.
"We haven’t seen (Hioki’s) full potential in the UFC yet, and you’re not going to see it on January 26," said the Round Lake native. "Once the onslaught starts, the ground-and-pound is going to take over, and (Hioki) realizes that he’s in Chicago."
After two substandard Chicago UFC events in 2008 (Cote/Silva) and 2012 (Davis/Evans), the UFC has put together a pay-per-view type card for its UFC on Fox show at the UC. The other notable fights include Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Glover Teixeiri and Anthony "Showtime" Pettis vs. Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Local kid Ricardo Lamas will fight Eric Koch and Chicago Police officer Mike Russow will take on Shawn Jordan.
"The card is stacked from top to bottom," said Guida of the January UFC event. "The Rashad Evans and Phil Davis was a good card, but this one will deliver."
Guida would not divulge his walkout music in his return to Chicago. His music should be either "Goin’ to Chicago" by T-Bone Walker, "Sweet Home Chicago" by The Blues Brothers, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan or "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" by Metallica.
Guida also gave a Cutler-like PSA announcement: "Don’t ask fighters for tickets."