Louis Gaudinot excited to fight at ‘an even playing field’ in UFC’s newly-formed flyweight division
Louis Gaudinot is happy to be fighting guys his own size again.
The 5’3? mixed martial artist, who became well-known to UFC fans on the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” due to his tenacious style as well as his signature green hair, is dropping back down to his natural weight class of 125 pounds after competing on TUF as a bantamweight. The UFC didn’t have a flyweight division at the time, so Gaudinot, who fought his first six pro fights as a 125-pounder, was forced to fight against opponents much bigger than him.
But now that the UFC’s brought in the weight class, it’s safe to say the Yonkers, New York native is pumped.
“I was really excited,” Gaudinot (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) told theScore of when he heard the UFC was finally opening up the 125-pound division. “When I was on the show, me, John Dodson, and Josh Ferguson were flyweights. We always bugged Dana (White) when the flyweights were coming, then they finally made the announcement.
“It’s so much better because now I don’t have to fight someone walking into the cage at 170 whereas I was only cutting three or four pounds (to make 135). It’s an even playing field now.”
Although he didn’t name names, Gaudinot was of course referring to Johnny Bedford, the massive bantamweight who he fought at “The Ultimate Fighter 14? finale. Bedford, who is 5’10?, absolutely dwarfed Gaudinot during their battle en route to a third round TKO victory, although many observers didn’t believe it was a fair fight due to the size discrepancy.
Technically, though, both guys did weigh in at 135 the day before the fight, so Gaudinot can’t complain. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, because he had fought Dustin Pague, another bantamweight who cuts a lot of weight, during his stint in the TUF house.
“I knew it was going to be tough going in there. I fought another big ’35er in Pague, so I knew I’d have my hands full,” he said. “We had a game plan going in there and everything. (But that) training camp wasn’t like this training camp — I had some snags along the way. (Bedford) was able to take me down and implement his gameplan. I think if we fought again it wouldn’t be like that.”
That “snag” that Gaudinot refers to was an injury that likely would have made other fighters leery of stepping into a cage, especially against a dangerous guy like Bedford. But, as Gaudinot knows, when the UFC calls, you don’t say no.
“I got the call from (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby about the (Bedford) fight, but two days before that I hurt my wrist in training,” the Tiger Schulmann product said. “But I talked to my coach and when the UFC calls, you take it. Sean said you can take this fight at 135. If you win you get a contract, if you lose when we open up the flyweights you’ll get a shot at 125.
“I had nothing to lose, and I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines or fight in a local show, so I took it. I’ve done that before in my career (fighting injured) — sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but at this level you can’t go into a fight with a major injury.”
But he doesn’t have any injuries — nor a weight disadvantage — this time around when he fights UFC newcomer John Lineker (19-5 MMA) at UFC on FOX 3 this Saturday night in his backyard of New Jersey, which is why he’s so particularly excited about stepping back into the cage.
“It’s at my natural weight class,” Gaudinot said of fighting Lineker at 125 pounds. “I’m not going to be giving up 30 pounds when I go into the cage. Some of these guys walk in at 165, 170, but I walked in at 140. I think at my weight class I hit a lot harder than the other flyweights do and I’m looking to show that this weekend.”
Still, while Gaudinot has made the cut six times in the past, this is his first time fighting at flyweight since September 2010, so he’s had to keep his weight down the whole camp to make the 126-pound limit for a non-title fight. But he has, and as he’s waking up in the mornings right now at 134 pounds, he’ll have no problem making it, and then taking on the Brazilian Lineker, who is nicknamed “Hands of Stone” due to his heavy hands producing eight knockouts in his 19 victories.
And while knockouts are rare at the weight, Lineker’s record doesn’t phase Gaudinot.
“He definitely has a lot of power in his hands, but I’m not as concerned as some people try to make it out to seem,” he said. “I don’t see him dropping guys with one shot, but he has some good ground and pound if he gets on top of you. He swings for the fences and he tries to knock you out, but I don’t see him knocking guys out with one shot.”
Still, Linker’s a dangerous fighter. And while Gaudinot isn’t looking past him, he is fully aware a win against anybody in the ultra-thin UFC flyweight division means you’re near getting a crack at the title, whenever the UFC’s flyweight tournament to decide the promotion’s first-ever 125-pound pound champion concludes.
“If I win, I’ll fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me,” he said. “(But) I want to fight one of the guys in the tournament, just to show I’m at that level. There’s only nine guys on the UFC flyweight roster, so if you defeat one or two guys, you’re in line for a title shot because it’s such a new and young division. You don’t want to look too far ahead but you think, ‘If I win one or two fights impressively I could be fighting for the title.’”
Fighting guys his own size once again, don’t be surprised if the pint-sized man with the green hair is competing for UFC gold sooner rather than later.
Train with Louis Gaudinot @ TSMMA Hoboken